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October 29 Paris Agreement takes effect and ICAO takes the lead in promoting Aviation Industry Carbon Reduction Efforts

The Paris Agreement finally took effect November 4, becoming a legally binding international instrument, and in 2020 will begin confirming Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, marking an historic global consensus.

 

In 1997 the Kyoto Protocol was signed, providing for a two tier international carbon emission reduction system, with the developed nations taking on the primary responsibility to achieve reductions of 5.2% off 1990 levels by 2012; the other tier provided that the developing nations carbon emission reduction responsibilities, such as for China, India and Brazil who in recent years have advanced their reduction apabilities, and serving as the critical focus of the new Paris Agreement encompassing both tiers.

 

The Paris Agreement represents a global trend and a critical international politico-economic commitment, especially for the energy industry, so if Taiwan’s energy sector is not self-sufficient, it will be easily subject to international energy industry changes; for our domestic industry, the government in 2015 announced our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), aiming for carbon reduction of 20% by 2030, and our electricity production is moving towards the elimination of nuclear power under the Electricity Act, and specialized legislation is determining the enterprise and public sector carbon emission targets. 

 

 

Aviation Industry Carbon Reduction Milestones

 

The Paris Agreement did not include the aviation and maritime transportation sector carbon emission guidelines, and as transport routes cover many nations, emission definitions are more complicated. Aviation emission constitute around 2% of global emissions, so their emission are distributed in the stratosphere and air, which are more slowly absorbed by trees, making them exercise greater greenhouse gas effects, and hence the aviation industry emissions are of critical importance.

 

To promote international aviation security and guidelines, the ICAO this year proposed a resolution for airlines to fulfill their responsibilities for carbon emission reductions, and if unable to achieve targets, then aviation firms should purchase carbon rights in exchange for emission reductions.

 

The Paris Agreement does not cover the aviation and maritime industries, so in the future these sectors will be governed by national efforts through a variety of means taking into account their carbon amission, carbon pricing and carbon ex gratia compensation, hence we can expect the energy environment will remain a key factor for economic activity considerations.