Sunday, February 20, 2011

Taiwan needs a real energy policy

The Dacheng wetlands in Changhua; the Kuokuang petrochemical project plans to reclaim these internationally listed wetlands that are home to the critically endangered Taiwan pink dolphins and a host of other threatened species to build petrochemical factories that will be supplied by coal-fired power plants.

Today's Taipei Times editorial titled "Taiwan needs a real energy policy" brings home just how shortsighted the Ma regime is when it comes to planning the way forward with regards to the nation's energy policy. Clearly, Ma and his government see coal as the way forward in order to supply the power needs of the petrochemical, steel and other high-energy consumption industries which they favour. While Ma pays lip service to the need to cut the nation's carbon emissions the actions of his government in promoting projects like the controversial KuoKuang Petrochemical Project clearly show that they have no intention of doing so.

See Taiwan needs a real energy policy in today's Taipei Times.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taiwan Foreign Correspondents' Club to visit the Dacheng Wetlands

The Taiwan Foreign Correspondents' Club is co-organising a trip to the Dacheng Wetlands in Chunghua County, with Changhua Environmental Protection Alliances, TEDxTaipei and Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association on Thursday February 24.

The trip is an opportunity to learn about the issues surrounding the controversial KuoKuang Petrochemical Project, a NT$40bn-plus petrochemical plant investment.

The Kuokuang plant is a government-led project to build a state-of-the-art petrochemical plant in Taiwan, and has been billed as part of the government\'s plans to boost Taiwan\'s petrochemical industry and create jobs. It has however been met with opposition from environmental groups because the site for the plant is in the Dacheng wetlands, an ecologically-important home for wildlife including the critically endangered Taiwan pink dolphins. It is also near areas that are the main rice-producing regions for Taiwan.

The trip will include a guided tour of the wetlands, visits to local oyster farmers who will be affected by the construction, and a talk/Q&A session with environmentalists and marine experts.

The TFCC is sponsoring T$500 per person for this trip. Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association and Coastal Conservation Action will also sponsor part of the cost for this trip. For fairness and balance, the TFCC will invite someone from Kuokuang as an executive tea guest later on to give us their side of the story.


8am departure, Taipei, High Speed Rail station.

9:40 arrive, Changhua Dalin/Dacheng Wetlands

9:40~11:30 Guided tour

11:30 ~ 12:30 visit local oyster farms

12:30 ~ 13:30 lunch

13:30~15:00 talks and Q/A

15:00~15:30 musical performance

15:30 Departure to Taipei

Talk/Q&A Speakers:

1. John Tsai, Director, Changhua Coastal Conservation Action

2. Robin Winkler, Chair, Global Green Congress, Taiwan

3. Allen Chen, Associate Research Fellow, Biodiversity Research
Center, Academia Sinica

4. Shiu-ru, Sun, Director, Changhua Wetlands Trust Project,
Environmental Information Center

5. Wu Sheng, poet and writer

Contact emails:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Taiwan Pink Dolphins make it onto the BBC

Taiwan pink dolphin: Photo courtesy of FormosaCetus Research and Conservation Group.

On February 1st the Taiwan pink dolphins* featured on the BBC News in an article titled Taiwan endangered species focus of new awareness. The article also has links to the following organisations: MFCU, EAST, Greenpeace and the COA. This international exposure of threatened species and environmental issues in Taiwan is good and a big thank you to Cindy Sui and the BBC News for it. Just a point to note. The caption for the dolphin photo states, "The population of Taiwanese white dolphins has plunged because of factory pollution." Factory pollution is one of five major threats to the dolphins. The IUCN lists the five major threats to the Taiwan pink dolphins as:
- by-catch in fishing gear;
- reclamation of estuarine and coastal regions for industrial purposes;
- diversion and extraction of freshwater from major river systems of western Taiwan;
- release of industrial, agricultural and municipal effluent into rivers and coastal waters;
- noise and disturbance associated with construction, shipping and military activities.

*The BBC refers to the Taiwan pink dolphins by their alternate common name; Taiwan white dolphins)