Good global warming?
The issue of climate change discussed in your paper (“Climate deal: Now comes the far, far harder part,” Dec. 17, page 9) reminded me of a recent report in the New York Times about the potentially positive effects of climate change.
We are all aware of the distress climate change has caused around the world, including global warming, icebergs melting, the dying out of polar bears, and rising sea levels, to name a few. Each of these is closely intertwined with the way we live and our living environment.
However, global warming has had both positive and negative effects on international transport. The gradual melting of icebergs has created a profitable shortcut across the North Pole. It shortens the distance and saves time from the US to Russia or Japan to Canada, as a result of the creation of a new transportation route through the North Pole.
Moreover, it is now easier and more economic to extract and transport natural resources and energy, such as natural gas, and oil from the Scandinavian countries and Russia to other countries, because we no longer have to use icebreaker.
Despite the new convenience in transportation, there are still some negative effects. For example, global warming has caused the icebergs to keep melting, thereby reducing the living environment of walruses and polar bears. For these rare animals it is increasingly difficult to find enough food to survive, so they are forced to eat their own offspring.
As we start developing the North Pole, we are also accelerating the extinction of walruses and polar bears, not to mention the rising sea level, which has much to do with regional disaster such as the floods in Thailand.
We human beings need to reconsider whether the cost of manmade climate change is something we are really prepared to pay.
Raking in the votes
For the past year or so, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has been busy preparing a basket of goodies — financial and symbolic — to secure the maximum number of votes in the upcoming legislative and presidential elections.
Civil servants have been promised a salary raise, and older farmers were first teased with a NT$316 hike in their monthly pension and then thrown the “generous” amount of NT$1,000.
The tariffs on baby formula have been lowered, sex workers and their advocates got their wish when a new law legalizing the establishment of red-light zones went into effect, and parents should be “elated” that the Ministry of Education’s introduction of the Four Books will return a multitude of errant young people back to the path of righteousness.
In the midst of all this, more than 5,000 people find themselves ringing in the new year on unpaid leave according to official statistics, with even more scared of losing their jobs altogether. Many parents are struggling to put food on the table and lowering tariffs for baby formula cannot offset the dire financial straits that some parents find themselves in. At the same time, while red-light districts are yet to be established, a law that would penalize both sex workers and their clients is yet to be enforced.
Government employees might deserve a salary raise, but as they already have job security, wouldn’t those extra funds be better used to throw a lifeline to those who are struggling to make ends meet?