AmCham, in support of President Tsai Ing-wen’s net-zero carbon emissions goals, was proud to link virtually to COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, where Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Deputy Minister Shen Chih- hsiu urged cooperation between public and private sectors to tackle climate issues – something AmCham’s members are primed to support. Our commitment goes beyond Taiwan’s central governmental authorities, as demonstrated by AmCham Taiwan’s April 2022 signature on the Voluntary Local Review Declaration for Cities.
Our 2021 White Paper advocated for decarbonization, energy storage, and carbon capture, as well as adoption of carbon fees and credits. The Committee thanks the Taiwanese government for supporting our recommendations for implementing carbon neutral policies, such as introducing a carbon tax on largescale emitters. The EPA last autumn proposed such a tax, and the Executive Yuan followed up this April by approving a differential pricing scheme for enterprises, expected to go into effect in 2024 or 2025. The measures now go to the Legislative Yuan as amendments to the former Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, which is to be renamed the Climate Change Response Act. The Committee commends the government for its decisive actions to deal with this important challenge, and below offers some additional recommendations for reaching the objective of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Our other suggestion this year is to provide more incentives to industry to utilize recycled plastics and other projects to capitalize on the circular economy.
The SDG Committee also appreciates the promotional support of AmCham at the Chamber level for the implementation of sustainable development projects and initiatives. These include: (1) support for the first privately owned waste-to-energy project in Taiwan to receive a feed- in tariff under the Renewable Energy Development Act; (2) a new renewable energy development platform backed by U.S. capital; and (3) a carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) industry alliance. For example, AmCham has been a strong supporter of the newly created Taiwan-U.S. CCUS Industries Alliance and participated in the recent Carbon Neutral and CCUS Forum. In the firm belief that public- private partnerships (PPPs) are the most effective means of achieving results in SDG and other areas, the Chamber urges the Bureau of Energy (BOE) and Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to actively engage with the Alliance to enable it to become a genuine PPP.
Suggestion 1: Promote decarbonization technologies to help achieve Taiwan’s 2050 net-zero emissions goal.
The SDG Committee joins the Energy Committee in calling attention to the crucial challenge for Taiwan of meeting its stated goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Although Taiwan has been excluded from many international agreements, the decarbonization effort is important to demonstrating its commitment to being a good international citizen, as well as to ensure that Taiwanese products continue to be welcomed in foreign markets as other governments implement stricter regulations to safeguard the environment.
Various decarbonization technologies are available that could help Taiwan to meet the 2050 net-zero emissions target while ensuring reliable and competitively priced energy. These include carbon capture and storage and the use of renewable hydrogen and low-emission fuels. Taiwan must ensure that it has that it has put a supportive policy and regulatory/legal framework in place so that these technologies can compete on a level playing field. In addition, incentives should be increased to help expand the scope and quicken the pace of existing programs to develop renewable energy resources. We agree with the Energy Committee that the authorities could facilitate this process by sponsoring regular opportunities for communication among all relevant stakeholders, including government, industry, scholars, and community representatives. The members of the new CCUS Alliance call for MOST and BOE to join its promising campaign and convert it from a private undertaking to a vigorous private- public partnership.
Suggestion 2: Incentivize industries to use recycled plastics.
Starting this year, the recycled plastic material rPET is expected to be used, manufactured, and sold as food containers through the risk assessment process of the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA). Currently, nearly 50% of all plastic waste in Taiwan is recycled, of which 90% is sourced from food containers.
This plastic waste will now be turned into a useful resource for the circular economy. The increased utilization of rPET is also expected to reduce the manufacture and use of virgin plastic and accelerate the reduction of plastic waste. As the demand for plastics remains difficult to decrease, reducing carbon emissions in the production of plastics can help achieve the goal of carbon net-neutrality.
The Committee believes that providing appropriate incentives to those who use recycled plastics, such as providing carbon credits and deducting or waiving carbon taxes or fees, will make the industry more willing to use climate-friendly materials despite the sometimes-higher prices than for regular plastics. Additionally, as recycling PET/ rPET transforms simple waste into raw materials for the circular economy, the Recycling and Processing Fee currently charged against manufacturers and importers should also be appropriately reduced or exempted.