The unveiling ceremony for the Preparatory Office of Climate Change Administration (POCCA) was held at 10:00 a.m., 22 April, Earth Day. Distinguished guests including Premier Chen Chien-jen, Secretary-General Li Meng-yen, and Minister without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng were present to witness this significant milestone that marked the initiation of Taiwan's efforts in addressing climate change.
The EPA Minister Chang Tzi-Chin stated that due to the rapid growth of tasks following the promulgation of the Climate Change Response Act (氣候變遷因應法) on 15 February 2023, a one-step approach was taken to establish the POCCA. This was done to promptly address the manpower needs for urgent tasks and align with the preparations for the establishment of the Climate Change Administration.
Premier Chen Chien-jen stated that the establishment of the POCCA is crucial for Taiwan's climate change action. It not only signifies the nation’s determination to achieve net-zero emissions but also represents a milestone in industrial transformation and national sustainable development. Premier Chen cited the example of proactive government measures taken previously that had mitigated the impact of drought in central and southern Taiwan, highlighting “the heaven helps those that help themselves” and the importance of early adaptation and preparedness. The work of the POCCA will enhance Taiwan's resilience in responding to climate change.
In his speech, Minister Chang expressed his gratitude to Premier Chen for his guidance, as well as the assistance of Secretary-General Li Meng-yen and Minister without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng of the Executive Yuan. He also acknowledged the coordination and communication efforts of relevant agencies such as the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration and the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, which facilitated the establishment of the POCCA.
Minister Chang emphasized that climate change is a stringent global challenge faced by all. In 2021, President Tsai declared unequivocally that Taiwan is aligned with the global community in aiming for net-zero transition by 2050. Over the past two years, Taiwan has drawn a roadmap for achieving net-zero emissions and has formulated the Climate Change Response Act. This act not only provides the legal foundation for the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but also offers clear directives for climate governance, climate change adaptation, carbon pricing promotion strategies, and promoting public participation.
Regarding the concern of various sectors about when details such as follow-up inventories and carbon pricing mechanisms will be finalized, Minister Chang mentioned that the global response to climate change is moving rapidly. For example, the European Union's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is set to be implemented in October this year, and there is an increasing demand for decarbonization in supply chains. Therefore, prior to the establishment of the Ministry of Environment, it was necessary to establish the POCCA to increase manpower and ensure the timely implementation of various subsidiary laws under the Climate Change Response Act, as well as tasks such as carbon inventory, carbon pricing, and climate change adaptation.
"Carbon pricing is an economic instrument rather than a fiscal tool," explained Minister Chang. As people are most concerned about the issue of carbon pricing, he said that the purpose of its implementation is to promote substantial emission reduction rather than focusing on the carbon tax collected or causing cost shifting. The EPA is currently planning the carbon emission inventory and collection mechanism, and the draft proposal is expected to be released for public discussion in the second half of this year. The specific amounts of carbon taxes will be discussed by the review committee in the first half of next year, with collection scheduled to begin in the second half of the year. This timeline will align with the schedule of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).
To facilitate the preparation and transition of the "Climate Change Administration" under the Ministry of Environment, the Preparatory Office has established four divisions with a total of 15 sections: Comprehensive Planning Division, Emissions Management Division, Emissions Reduction Promotion Division, and Adaptation and Resilience Division. In addition to the existing 48 personnel from the Office of Climate Change of the EPA, the manpower will continue to be increased to a total of 84 personnel.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, April 2023
- Ministry of Environment