Tue, Feb 15, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Ecologists press for less pollution


Out-of-date concepts behind Taiwan's recent investment proposals for the petrochemical and steel industries will be severely questioned by a newly-formed network, composed of ecologically-minded parties from 23 countries in the Asia Pacific region, according to Green Party Taiwan yesterday.

Late last month, the Executive Yaun approved new development projects, which will see increased petrochemical manufacturing and steel production in the Yunlin Offshore Industrial Park. Such projects, however, have irritated not only local environmentalists, but also their counterparts in neighboring countries.

At a three-day meeting held last week in Kyoto, Japan, the establishment of the Asia Pacific Greens Network (APGN), composed of ecologically-concerned political parties in 23 countries in the region, was finalized. In addition to issuing the "APGN Resolution on Climate Change and Renewable Energy" to show their concern about the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on Feb 16, the network also demanded the cancelation of Taiwanese development projects involving petrochemical manufacturing and steel production in Yunlin.

APGN members stated in a press release that Taiwan is moving away from the global trend of cutting emissions of greenhouse gases. The statement said that if the Taiwanese government keeps being "irresponsible," more international pressure will be applied.

According to Green Party Taiwan spokesperson Peng Yen-wen (彭渰雯), who attended the meeting in Kyoto with other Taiwanese representatives, the request to include a demand for the cancelation of projects involving industrial polluters in Taiwan caused no objection at the meeting.

Previously, Peng planned to initiate an international petition asking the government to reverse its decision on such controversial projects by collecting signatures during the meeting. However, the delegation received much greater support than it had expected.

According to government statistics, the new projects will produce 23 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. This amount is nearly 10 percent of the nation's total carbon dioxide emissions in 2000. However, the Environmental Protection Administration says that related environmental impact assessments will be carefully reviewed in order to limit pollutants.

Lin Tze-luen (林子倫), a member of the Green Party Taiwan and an assistant professor at the Department of Public Policy and Management at Shih Hsin University, told the Taipei Times yesterday that the government's resolution to curb emissions of greenhouse gases significantly has yet to be seen.

"Since some major players, such as the US and Australia, rejected the Kyoto Protocol, the government seems to be taking advantage of its not being a UN member, holding a `just wait and see' attitude toward related issues," Lin said.

Lin said that the government has not encouraged the adoption of renewable energy by adjusting energy policies. Taiwan's level of renewable energy sources has been significantly below that of other parts of the world. In 2002, a global proposal to ensure that renewable energy accounts for up to 15 percent of the world's energy supply by 2010 was made at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In 2003, Taiwan pledged to develop about 6,500 megawatts of energy from renewable sources by 2020. This ambitious goal, if achieved, would increase Taiwan's installed capacity of power supply from renewable sources to about 12 percent from current 4.1 percent.

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