In recent years, the global environment has deteriorated rapidly and we have witnessed a series of catastrophic natural disasters caused by local climate change in different places all around the world. Against this backdrop many countries have sought to devise ways to mitigate the global warming crisis.
Our Government has designated 2010 Energy Saving & Carbon Reduction Year and the Executive Yuan has proposed ten benchmark projects to lead Taiwan towards a green future. However, it is more than likely that high energy consuming industries such as private sector steel and petrochemical operators or even state own businesses such as TaiPower and the CPC will use their considerable influence and financial resources to lobby against these proposals. The courage and determination of the government could well be shaken by such opposition and there is a real possibility its plans could be shelved.
Many industrial cities in different countries are looking for alternative energy sources and enhance their competitiveness through industrial transformation. This is exactly the critical challenge Kaohsiung faces right now. The creation of Greater Kaohsiung will be a reality by the end of the year. With this in mind municipal planners with environmental thinking should be developing policies based on sustainable development. This is far more practical than endangering the environment and people’s health by allowing our beautiful hometown to coexist with the high polluting industries.
The area covered by Greater Kaohsiung will present a serious challenge to zoning regulations and planning. The CPC’s Kaohsiung Refinery will be the new central point of Greater Kaohsiung but the CPC has polluted the area for decades. As such, the plant relocation scheduled for 2015 is a critical and non-negotiable indication of intent. With that in mind, we are deeply concerned at suggestions in some quarters that the postponement of the relocation could become a bargaining chip in the coming elections. Should that occur, it will be a testament to the short-sightedness of politicians unable to grasp sustainable development and an example of a government reneging on a commitment to the people of Kaohsiung.
The councilors and staff of Kaohsiung City Council have long been concerned with the environment and have closely monitored Kaohsiung City Government’s development of green energy industries as part of a wider program to create a green city. Our determination to protect the environment in Taiwan is sincere and unshakable. Let us hope the government has the courage to take whatever actions are necessary for the benefit of the Earth and generations to come.