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Taiwan’s Emissions Increase Slightly in 2021, Well Below 2007 Peak

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In 2021, Taiwan's total greenhouse gas emissions amounted to 297 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), with net emissions of 275 MtCO2e. The overall trend indicates that Taiwan’s emissions peaked in 2007, with net emissions reaching 279.6 MtCO2e. Emissions decreased to 263.2 MtCO2e by 2020, but in 2021 increased by 4.56% compared to 2020, primarily driven by the energy and manufacturing industries. Following the post-pandemic economic recovery, there was a 4.4% rise in electricity demand, leading to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the International Energy Agency's report on carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion, as the COVID-19 pandemic abated and economic recovery took place, in 2021 global CO2 emissions from energy-related sources rebounded, growing by 6% compared to 2020. In comparison, Taiwan's emissions from fuel combustion in 2021 were relatively lower and increased by only 3.7%. Furthermore, Taiwan's economic growth rate in 2021 was 6.5% higher than that in 2020. In contrast, more advanced European countries and the US experienced lower economic growth rates than Taiwan during the same period, with an increase in emissions from fuel combustion exceeded that of Taiwan. Additionally, Taiwan's carbon emission intensity (i.e., carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP) has been on a downward trend year by year since 2003, indicating the effectiveness of Taiwan's recent efforts in transitioning toward a low-carbon economy.

The Bureau of Energy (EA) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) recently announced that 2022’s electricity carbon emission factor has dropped to 0.495 kgCO2/kwh. In August 2023, statistics and analysis of carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion in 2022 were released, providing an initial estimate of emissions from the energy sector's fuel combustion in 2022, amounting to 259.79 million metric tons of (Mt CO2e). Assuming that non-fuel combustion emissions remain at the 2021 level, the net emissions in 2022 dropped to 266.1 Mt CO2e, which represents a 3.3% reduction compared to 2021 and falling below the emissions level in the base year of 2005.

The MOENV emphasizes that Taiwan's second stage of carbon control aims to achieve a reduction of 10% by the target year of 2025 compared to the base year of 2005. Currently, all six major sectors and 22 local governments have had their reduction action plans approved, progressively facilitating initiatives such as energy transition, industrial low-carbon transformation, motor electrification of transportation, and subsidization for energy efficiency in residential and commercial sectors. More proactive climate actions are being carried out through 12 key strategies under Taiwan’s Pathway to Net-Zero Emissions.

These actions include the TPASS, a new monthly commuter pass introduced by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) that aims to encourage the public to change its habits in transportation. Moreover, the Climate Change Response Act, announced and enacted in February 2023, strengthens coordination across different action plans and evaluation mechanism while also mandates local governments to set up their own offices specifically for climate change response. The act is newly equipped with economic incentives such as carbon fees, aiming to push targets of fee collection to actively reduce emissions since they are able to apply for discounted fee rates after meeting designated reduction goals with their voluntary reduction plans. The emission trading mechanism helps urge large enterprises to lead smaller ones to engage in active reductions, hence encouraging more voluntary reduction efforts. And last but not least, the act works to lower emission increases via the offset mechanism for emission increases caused by newly set or modified emission sources. All the above practices are carried out progressively, bringing together the central and local governments, citizens, industries, and civic organizations to jointly cut down emissions under the common goal of carbon reduction.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, August 2023
Ministry of Environment