Thu, Nov 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Public dissatisfied with Tsai’s energy policy: poll

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) commissioned poll conducted by Taiwan Real Survey has found that 48 percent of the public is dissatisfied with President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) “nuclear-free homeland” energy policy, which is substituting nuclear sources of energy with coal-fired sources.

The amount of disapproval of the policy was higher than its approval rating of 34.2 percent, the KMT said, adding that 73 percent of polled individuals have expressed concern that increased energy output via coal-fired power plants in central Taiwan could cause health issues.

Only 9.8 percent of polled individuals were not concerned that ramped up usage of coal-fired power plants would potentially cause health issues, the poll showed.

When asked whether the Tsai administration should revise its energy policy due to air pollution concerns and the nationwide power outage on Aug. 15, 74.6 percent said “yes,” while 11 percent said “no.”

Coal-fired power plants are major contributors to fine particle emissions — or PM2.5 — which is considered carcinogenic.

Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修), the founder of the Nuclear Myth Busters online group, said that the Executive Yuan would be committed to spending NT$3 trillion (US$99.4 billion) to build replacement energy sources, adding that by 2025 — the year Tsai has promised to achieve zero nuclear power — annual energy costs would increase by NT$250 billion.

Former Environmental Protection Administration director Wei Kuo-yan (魏國彥) said that Tsai’s promises have soured and the public are “exchanging the health of their lungs for energy.”

The deficit of 22 billion units of energy during the transition from nuclear power to “green” energy could not be sustained solely by coal-fired sources, Wei said, adding that the government must launch environmental impact assessments and find alternative sources of energy.

Every individual would have to shoulder an addition NT$11,000 in energy costs due to the policy, Huang said.

The “nuclear-free homeland” policy gained great traction during Tsai’s election campaign, in part due to the controversy generated by the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan in 2011.

The poll was conducted by Taiwan Real Survey from Thursday to Saturday last week. The poll received 1,072 valid samples and had a margin of error of plus or minus-2.99 percentage points, with a 95 percent confidence level.

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