Taiwan and Kyoto

In an interesting article on Taiwan and the Kyoto Accord, the author lays out the reaction of Taiwan and especially Taiwan’s semiconductor industry to meeting greenhouse gas emission targets. Taiwan is often at the forefront of international agreements, even though it is not allowed to be part of the United Nations, because it wants to been seen as a global partner in these agreements. It also is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases.

Though a small country with just 23 million people, it is the world’s 14th-largest exporter, and some of its most successful exporting industries are major producers of greenhouse gases. And although Taiwan accounts for only about 1 percent of total world greenhouse gas emissions, its particular emissions have been rising exceptionally sharply—an estimated 70 percent in the 1990s, from 160 million to 272 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.


Taiwan’s main greenhouse culprits are the perfluorocarbon (PFC) compounds used in electronics manufacturing[, which] have a much stronger effect on climate than carbon dioxide, with warming potentials 5700 to 11 900 times as great. Accordingly, both the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association (TSIA) and the Taiwan TFT-LCD Association (TTLA) have set goals to voluntarily reduce PFC emissions in the near future. They also have been working toward a shared consensus with their global trade counterpart organizations, the World Semiconductor Council and the World LCD Industry Cooperation Committee, respectively. For example, Taiwan has pledged to go along with a commitment by the World Semiconductor Council that its members should voluntarily reduce PFC emissions to 10 percent below their 1995 levels by 2010, though from a different baseline.

Additionally, the author alerts us to the fact that it has adopted a position to the opposite of the US.

3 Responses to “Taiwan and Kyoto”

  1. Hannah says:

    Is there some incentive or reimbursement to countries who have attained emission targets that meet the Kyoto Accord? I guess it’s just that, they’re not slapped in the face with a fine…It just seems silly to be waiting to gain recognition before taking the initiative to act now in reducing GHGs. And where will the government get the money to sponsor massive reduction programs and economic restructuring?

  2. Liam says:

    Well, I would imagine if their efficiency in terms of resources is so low, particularly with respect to Japan, it would probably prove economical in the long run to modernize a lot of their production. While there might be a short term cost, it sounds like something they’re pretty keen on doing anyways, so I’d guess it probably has some financial upsides as well.

    If Taiwan could be an honorary signee or something of the like, they could also be financially rewarded by selling their carbon credits to other countries who aren’t able to reduce their GHG emissions as effectively.

    An interesting thing to note about Taiwan is they make a huge fraction of the world’s laptops, and a good chunk of the semi-conductor market as well. Cleaning up the manufacture of computers really depends a lot on the Asian countries effecting some change.