The per capita water consumption in Taiwan averages 271 liters (72 gallons) a day, higher than the average daily water usage of Europeans and even Americans. While agriculture continues to be Taiwan's most water-intensive industry, its semiconductor industry requires massive amounts of water and struggles to procure it.This is a topic I've blogged on many times (most notably) and one near and dear to my heart. The Guardian piece is a good pass at the surface, but the hard choice isn't between agriculture and industry but between sustainable development and the construction-industrial state that dominates the nation's domestic political economy.
One reason for the high consumption of water is the low rates paid by residents throughout the country – one-tenth the price paid in most of Europe. Citizens have reacted with scorn to calls for increased water rates, even though the proposed increase would mean that families would pay only about $0.27 (17 cents) more per 1000 liters of water. Meanwhile, Taiwan's high tech sector, which has a water recycling rate that varies between 65 and 85%, struggles to stay compliant with the government's water rationing policy.
While the attention paid to Taiwan's water troubles has focused on electronics companies, the agriculture industry consumes 70% of the island's water but contributes only 1.6% to its GDP. The government wants to boost its national food self-sufficiency rate from 32 to 40% , which would make Taiwanese farmers — who receive most of their water for free – an even more powerful political bloc.
- Yes, there are planets where people are blaming the US for Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea. Sad. Meanwhile US to provide hardware to Philippines and conduct drills with the island nation.
- Richard Bush, longtime Taiwan observer and US government Taiwan specialist, says Taiwan should....
- With the discretionary fund misuse made legal, all cases against prominent politicians in Taiwan of both parties are now closed. Hooray for KMT-DPP bipartisanship!
- Justin Logan on the recent seminar on Taiwan in US policy with Rupert Hammond-Chambers and Joseph Bosco. Would China really shrug if Taiwan declared independence? More importantly, does anyone in Washington really understand that a formal declaration of independence is the least likely thing to happen? More seriously than that misunderstanding, Logan writes "Beijing increasingly doubts America’s willingness to fight over Taiwan and Taipei appears to firmly believe that we would do so" as if Logan and his pal Ted Galen Carpenter were not part of a coterie of Beltway pundits who have argued Taiwan should be sold out and its defense no longer supported.
- Fascinating article about repatriation of 100K Japanese-Koreans to North Korea in early 1960s.
- Russia also nervous about Chinese monster.
- Weather Underground's Jeff Masters with a review of the extreme weather of 2010, perhaps the worst weather year in the last two centuries.
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