Sun, May 25, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ma to unveil ‘green’ initiatives

CRITICAL CAMPAIGNA green activist lauded the planned actions, such as banning disposable tableware, but emphasized that effective legislation was more important

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is planning to introduce a series of measures in government departments and agencies to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

While some departments have adopted individual measures to save energy, the administration plans to launch a more comprehensive and coordinated environmental campaign.

Ma plans to announce the new initiatives on June 5, World Environment Day, said Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川), deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office.

These will include encouraging government officials to choose vehicles with low exhaust volume, cutting down on paper consumption and using non-disposable tableware in offices, Yeh said.

June 5 was designated World Environment Day by the UN General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. The World Environment Day slogan for this year is “Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy.”

Several government departments are also coming up with new ways to save energy and resources.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications, for example, will start using a Web conferencing system instead of requiring officials in remote areas to travel to the capital for meetings.

The ministry will also install an intelligent environment network that will adjust the settings on lighting and air conditioning systems based on humidity and temperature in its offices. With this network, energy consumption is expected to be reduced by 30 percent.

The Bureau of Energy also plans to improve the energy efficiency of its air conditioners and elevators and switch to more efficient light emitting diodes for traffic lights and public exit signs.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Administration has stopped providing its staff and visiting reporters with paper cups and turns off the lights from noon to 1pm every day.

The agency is also discouraging unnecessary use of its elevators.

“Certainly the government’s actions will have a positive exemplary effect on society, “ said Tsui Shu-hsin, secretary-general of the environmental organization Green Citizens’ Action Alliance.

However, she said she hoped the government would promote environmental legislation by passing crucial proposals like the Greenhouse Gases Reduction Act.

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