Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - Page 2 News List

EPA offers cars in ‘green’ contest


The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday announced a campaign to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint — offering prizes including new cars in return for signing a pledge that includes taking public transportation.

Until the end of the year, anyone can participate online by signing the EPA’s “10 no-regret promises to reduce carbon emissions,” filling out a carbon footprint self-evaluation form, or sharing tips on cutting one’s carbon footprint.

Participants will be eligible to win prizes including a Toyota Yaris or Toyota Prius in drawings.

In addition to the drawings, a panel of judges will select the best carbon reduction tips submitted by the public and give the winners 27-speed bicycles.

“The EPA will host prize drawings all year, picking winners in June, August, October and December ... Prizes include 35 folding bicycles, DVD players, three Toyota Yarises and a Toyota Prius, as well as 5,400 gift certificates,” EPA Minister Steven Shen (沈世宏) said.

But driving contradicts the EPA’s “10 promises,” one of which is to take public transportation.

Asked whether it was contradictory to offer cars as a reward for participating in the campaign, Shen said: “We should consider that [the prize winner] will own the car, but will not necessarily use it every day. If a person owns a car, it can boost the economy ... While they can take public transportation as much as possible, they can also drive the car whenever necessary.”

The 10 promises were unveiled by the EPA last June and include keeping air conditioning at a reasonable temperature, unplugging electronics when not using them, purchasing household goods that are certified as energy-efficient, not driving at least one day a week and riding a bike instead.

Shen said that while the EPA had the goal of getting people to stop driving, “people still yearn to own cars, so we are offering a hybrid car and another fuel-efficient model as grand prizes to encourage people to cut emissions.”

Although 420,000 people have signed the EPA’s pledge since June, when asked how big of a cut in emissions the EPA hoped to achieve through the campaign Shen said: “The result of this will need to be evaluated over time. We will not know the actual emission reductions until the event is over.”

To learn more about the campaign, visit ecolife.epa.gov.tw/default.aspx.

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