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Environmental minister to step down once Lai takes office

04/17/2024 04:06 PM
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Minister of Environment Shieu Fuh-sheng attends a legislative hearing in Taipei Wednesday. CNA photo April 17, 2024
Minister of Environment Shieu Fuh-sheng attends a legislative hearing in Taipei Wednesday. CNA photo April 17, 2024

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) Environmental Minister Shieu Fuh-sheng (薛富盛) on Wednesday said he will step down from his role after the May 20 inauguration of President-elect Lai Ching-te (賴清德).

Fifteen members of the Lai administration's Cabinet have been named so far, but no appointment has been announced for environmental minister, leading to speculation that Shieu, who oversaw the agency's upgrade into a ministry last August, might stay on after Lai takes office.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a legislative committee hearing Wednesday, however, Shieu said he would not continue as minister after May 20, and would instead return to academia.

Noting that he would be 65 next January, Shieu said he planned to return to National Chung Hsing University and apply to postpone his retirement, so that he can continue teaching and doing research.

At the hearing itself, Shieu was asked what he saw as the three most important issues that will face his successor.

He replied that one major task will be the implementation of Taiwan's new carbon fee system, as well as reducing carbon emissions as the country looks to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Taiwan's carbon fee program was initiated this year, and will assess yet-to-be-announced carbon fee rates based on 2024 emissions, with payments due in 2025, similar to the income tax.

The new minister will also have to focus on reducing plastic use, Shieu said, noting that the United Nations is expected to reach a binding agreement on plastic pollution by the end of this year.

The ministry will also have to find logistical solutions for Taiwan's waste processing issues, particularly in the short-term as several incinerators around the country undergo repairs and upgrades, he said.

(By Chang Hsiung-feng and Matthew Mazzetta)

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