Taiwan might face problems linking its emerging carbon market to international trading schemes due to its lack of sovereignty, said a lawmaker with the party widely expected to gain power next month.
Tien Chiu-chin, a legislator with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), on Tuesday said China might claim any emissions units from Taiwan if the island links its planned emissions trading scheme to other markets, the Taipei Times reported.
The DPP is expected to oust the ruling Kuomintang party in next month’s elections, but there are concerns that relations with China might sour as Beijing sees the DPP as pushing for independence.
Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan, was on Tuesday briefed on the outcome of the UN climate talks in Paris.
“The Paris agreement clearly dictates a future development roadmap in terms of climate funding and policymaking, energy transition and carbon trading, and Taiwan must prepare for new development trends even though it is not a signatory of the agreement,” Tsing Hua University professor Fan Chien-te told lawmakers, according to the Taipei Times.
Taiwan adopted a new climate law in June which includes provisions for an emissions trading scheme to be launched by the end of the decade.
While the Paris deal included the basics of a new international emissions market, observers widely expect so-called “carbon clubs” – groups of nations or regions that connect their carbon markets – to emerge on the back of robust MRV systems also included in the new climate agreement.
But Taiwan is not a signatory to the treaty due to its lack of sovereignty, and Fan said “Taiwan must set up measures in response to member-exclusive carbon trading blocs.”
Taiwan is heavily industrialised and with over 330 million tonnes of CO2e per year it is a big greenhouse gas emitter. Because of that, its participation in international carbon trading would likely be welcomed if it can sort the issue out with China.
The last time the DPP was in power, from 2000 to 2008, China-Taiwan relations cooled significantly.
“We feel the trust in the relationship between the DPP and the Beijing government is very thin, very weak. I think through more goodwill and more exchanges we can slowly build the trust between the two sides,” Chen Chu, campaign manager for the likely new president, Tsai Ing-wen, told Reuters last week.
China has yet to officially present a view on Taiwan’s participation in international carbon markets, but this year accepted officials from the island to join the UN climate talks as observers for the first time.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org