To provide more options for development projects to offset their air pollution and effectively cut down emissions from developmental activities, on 2 Nov. 2022, the EPA amended and announced relevant offset principles for emissions produced by developmental activities. The amendment added offset sources categorized as stationary, mobile and fugitive and provided a mechanism for developers to cooperate with other public or private premises or government agencies. The amendment is expected to help accelerate the implementation of air pollution control strategies and allow developers to obtain offsets for the emissions they produce, thus reaching a win-win for economic development and environmental protection.
The amended Offset Principles for Air Pollutant Emissions Produced from Developmental Activities will provide clearer basis for calculating offsets. Offset sources include the improvement of pollution-control equipment and manufacturing processes at factories, replacement of old vehicles with electric ones, vessels in port areas using shore power, installation of pollution-control equipment by food and beverage enterprises, using bacteria to degrade agricultural residues, and so on. After passing environmental impact assessment reviews, developers should submit plans to obtain offsets for the air pollution emission they produce to the EPA for approval. Only after the approval can they implement the offset measures. This is to ensure that the planned measures are implementable in reality, and to clarify the follow-up supervision and inspection mechanism. If developers commission government agencies to find offset sources, they do not need to submit the aforementioned plans for obtaining offsets. Government agencies will issue them relevant supporting documents directly.
In addition, the amendment added a mechanism for developers to reach cooperation agreements with other public or private premises or government agencies, so as to provide developers with more channels to implement the pollution offsetting measures. Take for example the replacement of old vehicles with electric ones, the government matchmaking platform can assist developers to fund and obtain the air pollution reduction benefits of the public’s replacement of old vehicles as offsets, thereby achieving the triple-win situation in which enterprises provide funds, the government provides a matchmaking service, and the environment is improved.
Moreover, based on the simulation of localized air quality models, the amendment revised the offsetting means and ratios between secondary air pollutants (fine particular matter and ozone) and primary air pollutants (nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and non-methane hydrocarbons) to make the means and ratios of offsetting more in line with the air pollution improvement benefits obtained through offsets.
Recently, many large international manufacturers have been placing orders with Taiwanese companies while overseas Taiwanese companies continue to return to Taiwan to expand production capacity. This has led to accelerated development of domestic industrial parks and a great increase of pollutant emissions. After the amendment, the offset principles will help improve the air quality by requiring development projects located in areas of poor air quality to obtain offsets that account for 1.2 times the emission produced when they implement offsetting in the future. As a result, not only will the development projects not exacerbate the air quality of the area with additional emissions, but they will help generate more air pollution reduction benefits.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, November 2022
- Ministry of Environment