A parliamentary committee in Taiwan has set aside three days this week to consider a collection of draft bills that propose binding greenhouse gas emissions targets and the establishment of a domestic carbon market.
One GHG bill that included setting up a Taiwanese ETS was submitted to parliament back in 2008, but it was never approved amid fears it would be too costly for the economy.
However, signs that the international community may be able to agree on a new global climate treaty in Paris this December have prompted concerns that Taiwan, not a UN member, may be subject to trade sanctions unless it introduces similar legislation at home.
As a result, lawmakers have floated a total of six draft bills – all variations of the original 2008 bill. They are all backed by legislators from both the ruling Kuomintang party and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the main opposition party.
“A domestic carbon market is in all of the versions,” one source who has seen all the drafts told Carbon Pulse.
Combined, the two parties hold 105 of the 113 seats in the Legislative Yuan, generating optimism among some observers that bipartisan agreement can be achieved despite both parliamentary and presidential elections looming early next year.
The only question now is which of the six bills MPs will choose to back.
The Social Welfare and Health and Environment Committee held a hearing on the bills on Monday, and will convene again on Wednesday and Thursday.
In 2010, Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) estimated that a domestic ETS, as outlined in the original 2008 bill, would cover around 170 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
Taiwan’s current aim is to bring GHG emissions back to 2005 levels by 2020, to 2000 levels by 2025, and to half of 2000 levels by 2050.
It is unclear whether these targets would be strengthened under a new bill, but it seems unlikely as Taiwan, like Japan, may find itself more dependent on imported fossil fuels due to strong public resistance against nuclear power.
In any case, a GHG law would give the EPA stronger authority to ensure that Taiwan’s targets are met.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org