Sun, Aug 10, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Forum focuses on development

PLANNING ISSUES:Experts told a seminar that the government should do more to develop agriculture as well as renewable clean energy, specifically solar power

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Former Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tse, left, Taiwan Photovoltaic Industry Association secretary-general Gordon Chen, second left, National Taiwan University Risk Society and Research Center chief director and chief executive officer Chou Kuei-tien, second right, and former minister of the interior Lee Hong-yuan, right, participate in a seminar on transforming Taiwan’s sustainable development in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Former minister of the interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源), Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) and Taiwan Photovoltaic Industry Association secretary-general Gordon Chen (陳文咸) yesterday expounded their views on the topics of sustainable development, the development of solar energy and regional planning based upon disaster mitigation.

Lee Yuan-tseh, awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, at a forum in Taipei yesterday underlined the importance of sustainable development by drawing on the fact that with every 450 parts per million increase in carbon concentration levels, the Earth’s temperature would rise by 2°C, which would result in extreme weather patterns such as an increase in the frequency of typhoons and droughts, and have a profound impact on human survival.

He also described a potential global food shortage that could take place within 10 years as a result of climate change.

Saying that the government’s agriculture policy is flawed, he called on the government to attach more importance to the development of agriculture.

“Taiwan’s food self-sufficiency ratio languishes at about 30 percent, while some of Japan’s northern prefectures have posted a 60 percent self-sufficiency ratio. Taiwan also has the highest consumption rate per capita of US-imported food, which shows that we are not yielding enough produce,” he said.

Citing a food shortage that California suffered this year due to a drought, he said that a food-shortage problem could present itself sooner than people expect and that Taiwan’s food policies need to change.

Highlighting the importance of solar energy, Chen said that Taiwan, despite ranking No. 2 globally in the production of solar energy-related modules and possessing the most advanced technology in the field, trails other countries in terms of the production capacity of renewable energy.

He said that the Bureau of Energy imposes a 210 megawatt cap on the overall production capacity of solar energy facilities to be deployed this year, compared with the 30 gigawatt quota the Japanese government granted its photovoltaic sector about two years ago, out of which more than 6 gigawatts of solar power — the equivalent of six nuclear plants’ output — is being generated on an annual basis.

Citing statistics provided by former National Taiwan University president Lee Si-chen (李嗣涔), which showed that Taiwan has the potential to generate up to 114 gigawatts of solar power annually, Chen called on the government to give up traditional means of energy production and step up its development of clean energy by relaxing the restrictions it imposes on solar power.

Lee Hong-yuan said that the nation’s land policies should be implemented after thorough planning and that municipalities should not pursue unrestrained development.

“Municipal governments should not copy one another in their urban and regional plans,” he said.

Citing the example of land seizures in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔), which involved the county government demolishing four civilian buildings for a science park expansion project, he asked: “How many science parks do we really need?”

He also said that municipalities across the nation should consider disaster mitigation when formulating their urban-planning policies.

“If a magnitude 6 earthquake were to hit Greater Taipei, as many as 4,000 buildings would collapse. This is something we cannot afford to happen,” he said.

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