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Taipei speeding up its carbon footprint reduction

Taiwanese capital releases white paper on net-zero by 2050

(Travel Taipei photo)

(Travel Taipei photo)

Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 to prevent a climate catastrophe has become a global consensus since the Glasgow Climate Pact was reached at the 26th United Nations Conference of Parties(COP)in 2021.

This year, Taipei led the rest of Taiwan in drafting a proposed roadmap for cutting greenhouse gases over the next three decades in the form of a self-government ordinance. On March 28, the city government published a white paper on net-zero by 2050 entailing climate action to make Taipei a livable, sustainable city.

Net-zero emissions cannot be achieved single-handedly by the city government, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) pointed out. Taipei's carbon reduction will be conducted through public and private collaboration and by targeting sectors spanning commercial activities, households, transportation, waste management, and agriculture.

Taipei will set aside NT$27 billion (US$945 million) in funds for 23 projects to be implemented under nine policies. The initiative encompasses 150 carbon reduction measures in line with the city’s three core concepts: smart carbon-neutral buildings, low-carbon green transportation, and zero-waste and full-recycling.

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings

Both commercial and residential buildings, be they old or new, will be asked to meet energy efficiency standards and disclose relevant information. Energy conservation, zero-carbon buildings, and low-carbon life will be focuses of plans such as phasing out high energy-consuming equipment.

The city will invest effort into ditching energy-intensive facilities and incentivizing energy conservation, both in the public and private sectors. Subsidies will be given out to 100 communities and 30,000 households to replace home appliances. As for businesses, assistance with cutting energy consumption will be offered to the 280 biggest users of electricity.

Public buildings will add vegetation and increase their reliance on renewables, and four new school buildings will become smart, green edifices. Other projects planned include increasing permeable pavement and rainwater-storage facilities for better climate resilience.

Expediting vehicle electrification and creating a green, transportation-friendly environment

Taipei will implement measures that promote public transportation and low-emission vehicles. This year, the city will emphasize boosting the use of green transportation and facilitating vehicle electrification, such as by offering subsidies to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Electricity will power all public motorbikes, excluding those used for policing purposes, by 2023 and all public automobiles by 2030. Other measures include promoting shared transportation and introducing electric compression garbage trucks.

The city will double down on subsidies for electric scooters, with the aim of having 9% of scooters run on electricity. An additional 260 poles will be installed at EV charging facilities, and cycling paths will be expanded to a total length of 509.64 kilometers.

Promoting waste reduction and boosting recycling

Taipei will ratchet up recycling of reusable containers and other recycling efforts to address waste at the source. Incinerator bottom ash and pavement asphalt that has been removed will be reused, and rainwater collection and water reclamation systems will be enhanced.

The city’s incineration plants will be transformed into green energy power plants and green energy circular parks. Carbon capture, utilization (and storage) facilities will be phased in to reduce greenhouse gases during waste treatment. Meanwhile, campaigns will be rolled out to advocate the zero-waste and full-recycling lifestyle.

Taipei will seek to achieve a resource recovery rate of 80%. The policy to promote free-to-borrow circular containers will continue this year with a target of 60,000 cups and 100,000 in the coming years. The use of plastic products will be reduced at 538 sports events.

As for sewage treatment, the launch of a sludge drying system at the wastewater treatment plant in New Taipei’s Bali District will help reduce emissions during cleanup. Work will also continue to increase Taipei’s sewer connection rate to 87.57%.

Adding vegetation and carbon sinks

Apart from bringing down emissions, Taipei will also invest in green resources by better managing its greenery and expanding man-made forests to serve as carbon sinks. Around 20,000 square meters of land will be added as part of parks and other green space this year, along with 400 street trees. Wetland conservation will also play a vital role in carbon sequestration.

The DEP believes that the goal of net-zero emissions transcends climate issues and involves energy transition, international trade, and climate politics as well. It requires support from the central and local governments, the corporate world, and the people.

Taipei hopes the challenge can serve to drive industrial upgrades and energy transition while fostering green growth. Residents are invited to join the fight and fulfill the vision of a carbon-neutral city by saving water and energy, adopting green transport, reducing food waste and plastics, and developing a low-carbon lifestyle.