Forget pan-green, go Green
The DPP is currently conducting a series of debates to select its candidate for next year’s presidential election.
The nuclear crisis in Japan has thrust the issue of nuclear power into the spotlight. It is likely that the DPP’s candidate will promote a policy to phase out nuclear power in Taiwan. Whether they will actually be able to achieve this if they are elected to office is another question. Chen Shui-bian had promised to stop construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant before he was elected president in 2000. Ultimately, construction of the plant went ahead, as Chen faced intense political opposition to his plan after he was elected.
The plan for construction of the Kuokuang Petrochemical plant on reclaimed wetlands in Changhua County is also a contentious issue. The DPP’s presidential candidate is likely to oppose this plan. Whether the DPP will actually stop the project if it wins the presidency is another question.
Although the DPP has made promises on some key environmental issues, it cannot be considered a capital “G” green party despite its appropriation of the color. It is still committed to the promotion of a model of industrial development that is ultimately antithetical to protection of the environment.
I suggest that Green Party Taiwan and environmental non-governmental organizations join together to nominate their own candidate for president in the forthcoming election. While such a candidate would have no chance of winning, they would be able to act as a voice for people’s concerns about a broad range of environmental issues.
Climate change, energy policy, water resources and industrial pollution are key issues that affect the livelihood of everyone in Taiwan. These issues are complex and interrelated. They demand a bold plan rather than a piecemeal approach of opposing or stopping certain projects. A Green Party presidential candidate could help the environment movement articulate a comprehensive vision for Taiwan’s future based on a broad range of policies.
Although victory in next year’s presidential election might be elusive, a Green Party candidate could be a pioneer for the day Taiwan elects its first truly Green president.