Taiwan Moves Toward Carbon Offset Scheme
Author: Ralph Jennings
Nearly 270 companies responsible for more than half of Taiwan's greenhouse gas pollution have agreed to supply emissions data to the government to help it launch a carbon offset scheme, officials said on Tuesday.
Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration passed rules on September 10 in which companies were requested to supply emissions data needed to launch a carbon trading platform by year's end, EPA officials said.
So far, 266 companies that generate a total of 174 million metric tons of emissions per year have offered data, said Chien Hui-chen, the EPA's vice director of greenhouse gas reduction management.
Taiwan aims to start cutting emissions this year as it bids to join the United Nations Kyoto climate pact, despite opposition from China. It also faces increasingly loud protests at home against polluters that have supported the $416 billion economy for decades.
"Companies know that to do this early on will find it's to their advantage early on," said Chien.
Some participants belong to international trade associations that require disclosure of their emissions.
Major CO2 polluters on the wealthy island are led by manufactured exports and include Taiwan Cement, Taiwan Power and Formosa Plastics, the EPA says.
In 2006, the International Energy Agency ranked Taiwan no. 22 globally for fuel-based CO2 emissions at 270 million tons per year. It was No.16 in terms of per-capita emissions, higher than Japan and South Korea.
China claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan and says the island should not be formally recognized as an independent state by the United Nations. The island is not part of the Kyoto Protocol, the main U.N. weapon in the fight against climate change.
But Taiwan has set out to cut CO2 emissions to 2005 levels by 2020, with President Ma Ying-jeou pledging further reductions through to 2050. The government is trying to set up a chain of low-carbon villages by next year.
Officials have also tried to tap cash-strapped African nations to allow projects that Taiwan could use as a source of carbon credits traded internationally.
(Editing by David Fogarty)