The day this forum was held marked the first 100-day anniversary since Kaohsiung Gas Explosion occurred in the morning of 1st August this year. Except plans for petrochemical zone and high-value petrochemical industry promotion office as a way to solve the problems of high energy consumption, high pollution, low output value, the government failed to propose any direction and strategies corresponding to climate change, energy and industry transformation.
It has been a year since Kaohsiung Gas Explosion occurred. When people go out from the crisis management and pain, how do they cope with the context of energy and industrial development that is entangled behind the event? Risk Society and Policy Research Center invited several academics and government officials to this forum, and discussed together about Taiwan’s problems of air pollution and energy transformation. Through the heated discussion, we are searching for opportunities that lead to a change in Taiwan’s future.
Professor Kuei-Tien Chou pointed out that, Yuan-Tseh Lee, Academicians of Academia Sinica, address the influence of climate change on the world from a very broad view. This forum discussed not only Kaohsiung Gas Explosion, but also varies of problems from a higher level, such as choice of energy and industry transformation. Although presidential election is approaching and the society is in uproar, the problems of climate change and risk reach beyond border. Prof. Kuei-Tien Chou suggested that on the topic of governance transition and pursuit of labor rights, Taiwan lapses into inertia. There was no lack of transformation and reform in Taiwan, but now it has become indelible pain.
Vice Principal Ching-Ray Chang mentioned that during the process of economic development some areas suffer an unfair share of environmental burden. Ou of the need for economic development, Kaohsiung was selected for developing petrochemical industries; therefore Kaohsiung suffers a lot of environmental cost, resulting in the current situation that air pollution flags must be hung up to alert the air quality.
October 29 at 7.30 pm, the center held the first in this semester “Great Changes New Horizons” Salon, taking place in the new Social Science building of National Taiwan University. It was host by Professor Kuei-Tien Chou, Director of the center, and Professor Falin Chen, Director of Energy Research Center NTU, and Professor Tze-Luen Lin from Department of Political Science NTU were invited to join the discussion. Two guest speakers are from different disciplines. The discussion scope is broad but focused, ranging from basic research to policy expectations. Due to the high level of participation, the discussion even ended after a half-hour extension, showing that people have keen interest in energy development and attempt to participate in the accountability of civil society.
A discussion salon, on a topic of “from brown to green: dilemma? win-win? Talk on the CTSP Base, Economic Development, and Environmental Protection”, was held at National Taiwan University Social Science College on June 10. This salon invited the following guests to join the discussion: Yung-Mao Chao, former vice president of National Taiwan University and director of Center for Public Policy and Law; Chang-Chuan Chan, vice president of College of Public Health National Taiwan University; Yen-Ju Hsieh, chief secretary of Environmental Protection Administration Executive Yuan; Shun-Kuei Chan, lawyer from Primordial Law Firm.
Peng Mingyi, Marketing Vice President of Gogoro, suggests that Gogoro does not position itself as an electric motorcycle manufacturer; instead, what they really want to do is a concept industry with energy sustainability. With 37% of Taiwan’s air pollution coming from emissions from vehicles, the level of PM2.5 pollution in Taiwan ranks Top 2 among OECD member states. The number of annual deaths due to respiratory-related cancer deaths in Taiwan is 8,600, while that of motor vehicle accidents is 1,819, out of which 70% are related to motorcycles. Riding motorcycles is very dangerous; in fact, the air we breathe is just as dangerous. Everyone breathes the same air.
The speaker of the final stage was Professor Chang-Chuan Chan, vice president of College of Public Health National Taiwan University. People expect officials to investigate and seize olive oil, but do not get to know whether or not the officials have expertise in olive oil, for example, the criteria for olive oil.
Professor Cherh-yu Lee, representatives of the Consumers' Foundation and professor of Taipei City University of Science and Technology, gave a talk in the next session. She mentioned that consumers demand correct information, and finally we hope to get a healthy environment, and the health of the next generation. Questions every consumer should care include: feel good to eat, nutrition is also very important, whereas health and safety is fundamental requirement.
First, Professor Shiu-Ching Wu from Department of Philosophy Chung Cheng University talked about business ethics, posing questions as to whether or not enterprises can have ‘serving common good’ as a business purpose. Enterprises engaged in various activities with social impact, perhaps some for public interest, but some causing pollution. Professor Wu believes that the company's business operation should be able to foster common good, and to preserve multicultural assets.