Lee urges candidates to address issue of emissions

Nobel laureate and former Academic Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) urged the presidential hopefuls yesterday to address the issue of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, stressing that boosting the economy will be pointless if there's no set target for the reduction of carbon emissions.
Lee suggested that Taiwan should aim at stabilizing the carbon dioxide emissions by 2025 at the level it was at in 2000. Taiwan recorded a total of 223 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2000.
Lee made the statement at the 2007 Taiwan National Parks and Green Network Conference that was held at National Taiwan University Hospital over the last two days.
Lee noted Taiwan is considered to be an over-developed country in terms of its volume of carbon dioxide emissions and the rate at which that volume is increasing. It is irresponsible for the country's leaders not to set goals to reduce carbon emissions, and the next generation will suffer the consequences, said Lee.
He noted that he often hears the presidential hopefuls talking about pushing Taiwan's economy forward and making the economy better, but, he cautioned, economic growth will not have much meaning if Taiwan does not cut its carbon emissions. "Setting up cement factories in order to boost the economy is a dead end ... Our leaders have to save our beautiful surroundings from destruction, for the next generation."
Citing Green Island as an example, Lee said it was named by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation as a great ecology tourism site. Lee said every time he visits the island, he is very happy to see the clear water and beautiful coral reefs. However, if one takes a closer look, one will discover that there are not many fish in the water, and that there are thousands of motorcycles on the road, he said. Despite diminishing resources, fishing continues in the area, he said.
Lee urged the government to show its resolution to tackle the problem of CO2 emissions and the ecology system in Green Island, so that the people can believe they are supporting the right party.
Meanwhile, on a separate occasion yesterday, Environmental Quality Protection Foundation Chairman Liu Ming-lung said he supports Lee's idea of stabilizing Taiwan's CO2 emissions at the 2000 level by 2025.
"When it comes to setting goals to reduce carbon emissions, stricter targets are not necessarily good because it might result in negative economic growth, Liu said.
"The government should take into consideration industries' ability to adapt, he adding, urging that legislation be introduced as soon as possible to lower carbon emissions.