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Taipei City Moves towards Net-Zero Emissions by 2050, Engaging in Global Trends of Carbon Reduction

Taipei City Moves towards Net-Zero Emissions by 2050
Engaging in Global Trends of Carbon Reduction

  On Earth Day (April 22), the Mayor of Taipei City, Ko Wen-je, announced that Taipei City will move towards the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. As citizens of global village, Taipei City makes commitment to do our utmost in fulfilling obligations and shared responsibilities for global GHG emission reduction, working together with the international community towards a new era of carbon neutrality. While the process of pursuing net-zero emissions is full of challenges, it is also crucial to the enhancement of our country’s international competitiveness, providing a turning point for transformation and reconstruction of cities under the climate crisis.
  Building on the implementation of the existing 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Taipei City Government will move ahead in the promotion of municipal policies from public to private sector, such as the expansion of renewable energy utilization, the electrification of vehicles, the introduction of smart and zero-carbon buildings, and the investment in innovative start-up companies. The City Government will launch the assessment of pathways for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, serving as the basis for the implementation of the City’s long-term carbon reduction policy.
  According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) of Taipei City Government, after the UN Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, the Special Report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 pointed out that global emissions will need to reach net-zero by mid-century in order to meet the goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C. Thus far, 130 countries and 527 cities around the globe have already declared their net-zero emissions targets no later than 2050. Furthermore, global leading enterprises including Apple, Google and Facebook have also joined the pledges to reach net-zero emissions or carbon neutrality across their supply chains. The DEP indicated that, in order to prevent climate disasters that could lead to catastrophe upon human civilization in the future, major emitters have already declared net-zero emissions by 2050, which is a no-regret commitment to the sustainable development of humanity and the Earth.
  With continuing efforts in promoting reduction measures for GHG emissions, Taipei City strives to facilitate climate actions under the framework of the UN SDGs, publishing the Taipei City Voluntary Local Review (VLR) in 2 consecutive years of both 2019 and 2020. In 2019, the carbon emissions of the City were 11.6 million tons, which is a 11.3% reduction compared to 2005 levels. The City also raises its mid-term goal from 25% previously to 30% of reduction by 2030 with a long-term goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
  The DEP said that achieving net-zero emissions is the key to city’s transformation. The subject of carbon reduction has already extended from aspects of environmental protection to industries and energy transition, and it is crucial to our country’s future international competitiveness. Moreover, it is necessary to rethink comprehensively to promote and implement transition with a brand-new mindset on every aspect, including energy, society, industry, economy, and livelihood conditions.
  Thus, based on the 2030 SDGs, Taipei City will continue to promote the following six major strategies to move towards net-zero emissions by 2050 with support of our national energy transition progress:

  1. Promote smart and zero-carbon buildings: The City will develop its new construction towards zero carbon buildings with the introduction of both energy traceability systems for buildings and the design of green and smart buildings. As such, the energy consumption per unit for buildings can be accurately grasped, achieving the goal of zero-carbon buildings through a multi-pronged approach. In addition, the City promotes the use of recycled and circular materials for public and private construction projects, driving the circular economy.
  2. Improve green transportation: The City will increase the shared ratio of green transportation to over 70% by 2030. The road network of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) will continue to be constructed with optimization of connecting bus routes. The City also promotes the “4U Green Shared Transport” by encouraging the use of shared vehicles such as Ubike, Ucar, Umotor, and Uparking, working on building the City’s first and last-mile transportation.
  3. Advance the electrification of vehicles: The City will raise its subsidies for citizens to purchase electric motorcycles, aiming to achieve more than 30% of shared ratio of electric motorcycles by 2030. It also aims to reach 100% all-electric city buses by 2030. To establish a user-friendly environment for electric vehicles, the City will accelerate the construction of charging infrastructures.
  4. Installation of renewable energy systems: The City will expand the installed capacity of solar photovoltaic (PV), accelerating the pace of setting up civic power plants. Furthermore, it plans to introduce hydrogen energy use and novel energy storage systems.
  5. Investment in green and innovative industries: Through the partnership with private venture capital management consulting companies, the Industrial Development Fund of Taipei City will prioritize climate-related venture capital, facilitating the development of relevant industries and attracting private investment funds.
  6. Promote low-carbon and sustainable procurement: The City establishes the regulations on low-carbon and sustainable procurement with public sector taking leadership in purchasing low-carbon certified products with environmental labels and energy-efficient labels. In addition, the City also regulates its labor service and engineering contract partners to use energy-efficient, resource-efficient and low-carbon products.
  Taipei City Government is expected to complete an assessment report on its net-zero pathway ahead of UNFCCC COP 26 in November this year. Moreover, the Taipei Sustainable Development Committee of Taipei City Government will be transformed into the “Climate Action and Sustainable Development Committee,” enhancing the climate dialogue with all sectors. The DEP emphasizes that moving ahead towards zero-carbon Taipei by 2050 from the turning point of global climate transition not only requires public-private partnership and the engagement of NGOs, but also requires the cooperation with the central government.
  At the critical moment during this national energy transition period, the DEP suggests the central government complete the legislative process of "Climate Change Response Act" as soon as possible. Implementing carbon pricing in Taiwan allows the costs of carbon emissions to be internalized as a driving force for industrial upgrading, strengthening the national competitiveness and enabling the central government and local governments to jointly work together towards the vision of net zero emissions.