Fri, Dec 01, 2017 - Page 8 News List


EVs no miracle solution

Premier William Lai (賴清德) has just proposed to ban all fossil fuel-powered vehicles to reduce air pollution (“Lai proposes ban on all fossil fuel-powered vehicles,” Nov. 30, page 3).

What some European nations and China are doing to replace gasoline and diesel-powered cars, and scooters with electric vehicles (EVs) is not necessarily correct. Japan is promoting hydrogen cars and this also deserves further evaluation. Taiwan should think before it jumps.

Switching from gasoline and diesel to electricity makes sense if the electricity that will power the vehicles is strictly generated from solar cells and natural gas.

Electricity generated from coal, oil or nuclear fuel cannot be used for vehicles, as the first two would increase the overall pollution, including carbon dioxide emissions, and the last one is to be eliminated in Taiwan anyway.

Both electric and hydrogen cars can reduce pollutants practically down to zero — locally and temporarily — compared with gasoline and diesel cars. However, the local air will not remain clean for long when the increased load causes coal or oil-fired power plants with ordinary air pollution control to generate more pollutants that will spread nationally and globally.

This is why one-third of air pollutants in Taiwan originates from other nations, mainly China.

If another one-third of air pollutants is from factory and power plant emissions, it might be less costly to update air pollution control devices at large plants than to ban all gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Electric cars in an electricity-hungry Taiwan without nuclear energy might not be feasible.

Hydrogen in Japan is mostly produced from natural gas (imported as liquefied natural gas, or LNG), creating mainly nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide. Nitrogen oxides can be reduced catalytically by more than 90 percent with a commercial selective reduction process using ammonia.

Natural gas vehicles would be better than electric vehicles or even hydrogen cars if reducing carbon dioxide emissions is also a goal. Like Japan, Taiwan also imports LNG.

Charles Hong

Columbus, Ohio

Out of the bubble

A member of the public recently posed this question to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲): What is a reasonable salary for a young person?

Ko replied that NT$30,000 is too low and that he believes that between NT$45,000 and NT$50,000 would be reasonable.

Ko’s answer demonstrates that he is seriously out of touch with reality.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Labor, last year’s average monthly starting salary for workers in the manufacturing and service industries was NT$22,221 for a junior high-school graduate, NT$23,313 for a senior high-school graduate and NT$25,198 for a graduate of a technical or vocational college.

Average starting salaries for university graduates increased to NT$28,116 and master’s degree holders’ average starting salaries were NT$33,313.

Last year, the overall average starting salary in Taiwan was NT$26,723. This figure is miles away from Ko’s NT$45,000.

As for average monthly starting salaries for civil servants at regular government ministries or civil administration departments, entry-level civil servants on average earned NT$29,345 last year, basic-level civil servants made NT$36,275 and advanced-level civil servants received NT$46,225.

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