Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Assignment #16

EDITORIAL: Environmental Debate Disappointing

Sunday's debate offered the presidential candidates an opportunity to talk about one of the most important questions facing this nation and every other country on Earth: How can we stop global warming to prevent the catastrophic effects that the scientific community warns about?

Both KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou and DPP candidate Frank Hsieh responded to questions with vague promises that left environmental experts unimpressed. Promises varied from raising taxes on fuel to pushing companies to improve energy efficiency.

Experts can be forgiven for their skepticism, as neither Hsieh nor Ma, nor their parties, have the track records to put force behind their words.

Ma had eight years as mayor of Taipei -- during which he was in an excellent position to clean up one of the nation's most polluted cities -- but did relatively little.

Hsieh, on the other hand, deserves praise for cleaning up Kaohsiung's Love River. But that project -- along with changing street lamps to solar power -- didn't even begin to address the source and depth of the environmental challenge facing us: our lifestyles. Compared with the hazard that millions of cars on the roads pose, solar panels for street lamps are simply a token project.

Not surprisingly, politicians are more willing to launch flashy projects that meet with little or no resistance than to push for policies that tackle the nation's soaring greenhouse gas emissions.

The Taiwan Environmental Protection Union has said the nation's carbon emissions have doubled in the past 18 years and will triple in another 17 years -- one of the fastest rates in the world. There is no room for another four years of inaction.

Ma and Hsieh pledged this weekend to reduce emissions, with Hsieh discussing incentives to promote public transportation. However, voters have no way of knowing whether either candidate has the determination and strength to push what may be highly unpopular policies for the greater good.

The environment is one issue where urgency leaves no room for empty political statements. If things are to change, the KMT and the DPP must show a united front on cutting emissions. Voters, meanwhile, should demand clearer platforms on the environment and push the presidential candidates in the few weeks left until election day to spend as much time expounding their visions for a green Taiwan as they have on promising token cross-strait flights and a booming economy.

This was an editorial in today's edition of the Taipei times. You can check it out online.

Questions:

1.) Why is neither candidate taking a strong position on the environment?

2.) What kinds of projects are needed to cut Taiwan's greenhouse gas emissions?

3.) Is there anything voters can do to encourage better policies on the environment?

2 comments:

William said...

I think both of the candidates should say something more about "environment pollution reducing." For me, environment is the first. If we have a bad place to live, what can we do with economies?

Building a green, more environmentally friendly Taiwan is a more important case than building a booming-economy Taiwan.

*Can anyone tell me which adjective is better for me to use in the following sentence,

"...building a booming-economy Taiwan."

Is "booming-economy" a good adjective to use?
What about "booming-economical?"
Or maybe "booming-economically?"

Any other adjective better?

I caught a cold, feeling ill. said...

Why couldn't a presidential candicate give a positive promise? It's simply because solving the eviromental problems isn't such an easy thing.
If we have bad economies, can we live a happy lives in a beautiful place? If we insist not to hurt the earth, can modern people live in a place which has only trees and grass?
What are we going to eat? Trees and grass?
It's not so easy to control the balance between economies and envirment.
For instance, to cut Taiwan's greenhouse gas emissions, the goverment may encourage people to take buses more often, but cause the taxi drivers may have less and less passengers.
It's a really complicated issue.
Yeah, I admitt that govenment's environmental solution is important.
However, what we can do isn't only march in a group, letting candidates know our sugesstion. We should live up to protect the earth in our lives.