《TAIPEI TIMES》 Greenpeace chides net-zero road map
The Taichung Power Plant is pictured on Jan. 30 last year. Photo courtesy of the Taichung City Government
‘CARBON PRICING NEEDED’: Government officials are avoiding the topic, even though a newly drafted net-zero road map would be impossible without it, Greenpeace said
By Lo Chi and Kayleigh Madjar / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Greenpeace Taiwan yesterday criticized the government’s plan to curb carbon emissions, calling its proposed budget impossible without stable income from carbon pricing.
The National Development Council yesterday released a road map for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, including additional spending of NT$900 billion （US$31.49 billion） by 2030 to build out renewables.
Greenpeace said it was skeptical that it would be enough, citing the extreme financial constraints facing state-owned enterprises.
Taiwan Power Co （Taipower） lost NT$5.9 billion in January alone before taxes, while CPC Corp, Taiwan last month had accumulated losses of NT$60 billion — nearly half of its capitalization, the environmental group said.
While a carbon tax is included in a proposed climate change response bill, it is still far from becoming a reality, as the bill has not even been submitted for public debate, it said.
Tracy Cheng （鄭楚忻）, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace’s local branch, equated the council’s plan to “going to war without enough food.”
The government is planning a huge budget before stabilizing its income, she said.
Revenue from an effective carbon tax would be the central pillar of the policy, but officials are avoiding the topic while blocking incentives, Greenpeace said.
“If the road to net-zero emissions does not include effective carbon pricing, it would be like a finely crafted ship that lacks a power source; no matter how beautiful it is, it will never reach its destination,” it said.
The plan also severely underestimates the cost of achieving net-zero emissions, it added.
The group said that the plan’s budget for noncorporate sectors was NT$21 billion, while South Korea in its 2020 “Green New Deal” planned to invest more than seven times that amount — 6.2 trillion won （US$5.12 billion） — to make public facilities energy neutral within five years, it said.
Taiwan is already falling behind, it added.
Much anticipated carbon capture technology has been allocated only NT$41.5 billion, despite the International Energy Agency estimating that it would be difficult to bring costs down from current levels, Greenpeace said.
If companies were to invest in carbon capture technology, carbon would need to be priced at US$60 or US$70 per tonne for them to break even, it said.
With this “miniscule budget,” the group estimated that only 10 percent of emissions could be offset.