Sun, Jan 03, 2010 - Page 8 News List

[LETTERS]

Comparing apples and ECFAs

At a recent seminar on a proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) hosted by National Taiwan University, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥), addressing fears of a wage drop in Taiwan under the ECFA, said the North American Free Trade Agreement had not caused average wages to fall in the US.

He may be comparing apples with oranges. Has he considered or does he dare mention that the US economy, which is much bigger and more diversified than Mexico’s, is most likely more absorbent and resilient than Taiwan’s, which is much smaller and less diversified compared with China.

I wonder how familiar Shih is with the North American pact — both its pros and cons.

MICHAEL TSAI

Tainan

Act now to save the world

Our environmental safety is under threat from climate change, which presents a formidable challenge. The environmental talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, have made clear the unprecedented danger of climate change. Yet some problems were ignored at the talks.

More than 100 heads of state gathered in Copenhagen and discussed the crisis we face, including melting ice caps, global warming and rising sea levels.

The crux of the problem is that human beings are overly exploiting natural resources — especially in developing countries, where nature is suffering at the hands of aggressive opportunists.

In response to a recent piece in your paper (“Africa must not be forgotten at Copenhagen summit,” Dec. 11, page 9), Africa must strike a balance on environmental issues. The world’s second-largest forested area is located in Africa. Its massive trees are crucial because they turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, yet they are being cut down for profit. This unwise practice will not only hurt biodiversity, but increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Africa requires energy to develop its industries. The big problem is, if it can’t find alternatives to fossil fuels, air pollution will worsen. Furthermore, Africa has to preserve its natural resources lest it run out while still developing. It is imperative to preserve natural resources while developing industry at the same time.

In Taiwan, the public has been supporting activities to protect the environment. As Jessica Su wrote in her letter (Letters, Dec. 28, page 8), students at National Taiwan University have organized a group to collect plastic bags for recycling. They collected almost 20,000 plastic bags in the first three days.

We are facing an unprecedented crisis. To avert disaster, we must make every effort to cut carbon emissions and protect biodiversity. This is not just the responsibility of developing countries.

STEVEN CHANG

Taipei

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