Are You Severely Compromising your Long-term Health by Living in Taiwan?


#81

:laughing: But all those LED factories need a lot of energy. Taiwan’s solution will be to build more coal plants so we can build more LEDs to allow the rest of the world to use less energy. Kind of like the solar panel industry here.[/quote]

You’ve got a point MM, it would have to be looked at overall. The best solution may be to import the panels and LEDs from factories in China but that’s also a bit of a false economy, the pollution is placed over there instead and some of it will blow back here again.

I’m not against nuclear power in some places but Taiwan’s political and geological and geographical situation makes it rather a high risk option for this small island.

What’s interesting is the government have projected energy use increasing by 25% in 2020. How the hell would that happen, and why should it happen? What’s wrong with their policies to even predict that will happen? Dinosaurs.


#82

Those factories are going to be there regardless of who’s consuming the product. The point is if the majority of Taiwanese used LED lights the demand for electricity generation in Taiwan would be greatly reduced


#83

I doubt lighting has much to do with it - I get the impression the big energy sinks are climate control (due to poor building design, at noted) and industrial use. Industrial users don’t care about efficiency because their energy is so heavily subsidised. That, in turn, means that Taiwan is hosting a lot of industries that it shouldn’t, because they’re not actually economically viable.

As MM said, there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit here, but as usual the talking heads are more interested in finding excuses for ignoring it. Taiwan has the ideal geography and demographics for the sort of integrated electric vehicle approach HH2 mentioned. They could be world leaders in this area, if they wanted to, but that’s never been Taiwan’s forte.


#84

Have you tried driving in a normal road (going to and from work) on an electric scooter? It’s too slow for traffic… and if you run out of juice right in the middle of the road…


#85

I ride my bicycle all over town all the time and I doubt I’m faster than an electric scooter. but I agree that electric scooters suck. I use my motorcycle usually when I want to go across town or carry a passenger.

The unfortunate thing is that Taiwan could address these pollution issues but people have just accepted it as a fact. I guess this is part of the education system at work. Don’t question things even if they are wrong.


#86

This is an excellent point. Yes, current electric scooters are slower than gasoline-powered, but so many people drive so slowly (my father-in-law for example) that it shouldn’t matter much for them. I bought one for my father-in-law for Father’s Day a few years back, it’s been reliable, never run out of juice in the middle of the road, and was competitively priced. It was also subsidized and has been tax-free - though that might change.

The new lithium batteries are actually quite good and last for up to 3 years with normal use. They are also light enough to carry up to an apartment to recharge. If you recharge them regularly, there is no real chance of running out of juice in town. It starts to beep when you have about 2-3 kilometers left to go.
Obviously, the technology can improve (and it is improving) but I think that will happen as demand increases. Demand is sure to increase if gasoline rates are allowed to go up naturally. Taiwan has several electric scooter factories already and could be really competitive in a few years if the worldwide market expands.
The government is also trying to collect gas scooters older than 12 years (民國90年一下) and will give a subsidy if you replace it with an electric. Considering most electrics are in the 30-40 thousand range - compared with 60-80 thousand for a gas one - it can be a very good option.


#87

This is an excellent point. Yes, current electric scooters are slower than gasoline-powered, but so many people drive so slowly (my father-in-law for example) that it shouldn’t matter much for them. I bought one for my father-in-law for Father’s Day a few years back, it’s been reliable, never run out of juice in the middle of the road, and was competitively priced. It was also subsidized and has been tax-free - though that might change.

The new lithium batteries are actually quite good and last for up to 3 years with normal use. They are also light enough to carry up to an apartment to recharge. If you recharge them regularly, there is no real chance of running out of juice in town. It starts to beep when you have about 2-3 kilometers left to go.
Obviously, the technology can improve (and it is improving) but I think that will happen as demand increases. Demand is sure to increase if gasoline rates are allowed to go up naturally. Taiwan has several electric scooter factories already and could be really competitive in a few years if the worldwide market expands.
The government is also trying to collect gas scooters older than 12 years (民國90年一下) and will give a subsidy if you replace it with an electric. Considering most electrics are in the 30-40 thousand range - compared with 60-80 thousand for a gas one - it can be a very good option.[/quote]

You are making an argument that it’s good for someone else to buy an electric scooter. Limited to 30-40 km/hr, no passengers and carrying a battery up to your apartment? That pretty much sucks unless you happen to have a 2nd scooter that is gas powered. the fact is that scooters and motorcycles are pretty efficient fuel wise and cheap to maintain. Unfortunately they also pollute although newer ones are better. I don’t even think about filling up my motorcycle with gas. A car on the other hand absolutely sucks when you go to the pump.


#88

I think the newer scooters are equivalent to 50cc which should be fast enough except for going up steep hills carrying heavy loads. How fast do people need to ride anyway?

In western countries speed limits are much slower in cities, as it makes easier for cyclists and pedestrians to get around.

Gas scooters are cheap but electric scooters are even cheaper. Cars are a quantum leap more expensive than both, but they often serve a different function anyway. There are people who put there kids on scooters here but I think it’s playing the odds.

The best solution is better public transport IMO (as long as they are not diesel buses).


#89

it depends… I bike pretty much anywhere so I haven’t even used public transport for a while. It works well until it starts raining…

If you are going from Xinyi to Taipei main station all the time then public transport works, but if you go from say Danshui to Neihu or Xizhi then public transport is going to take over 2 hours, while a scooter will cut that time by more than half.


#90

I recently discovered that in Beitou they still have scooter taxis, which mostly work to bring groceries back from the markets in the morning (women buy their stuff then give it to a scooter taxi to take home) but also sometimes for picking kids up after school and so on. Could work in a lot of areas to reduce the number of scooters but still supply cheap taxi services. Not electric of course but good 4 strokes.


#91

Talking about energy efficiency and climate control devices, I cannot believe no one mentioned the polar-like temperatures one can find in buses, trains, supermarkets and so on. And how about all the small shops that crank up their ac to the maximum setting and then leave the front door wide open?


#92

Exactly, which is why even a 40% hike in rates would not affect anyone. It would simply encourage sane use of energy. People’s bills would remain largely the same as they adapted their behavior to reflect higher prices.


#93

Agreed, that goes in the low hanging fruit part. 7-11 spaceships, open shop fronts, refrigerators with no front glass, frigid shopping malls. There are something like 9,200 convenience stores in Taiwan. Now it was worse a few years back, offices in particular have changed tremendously, but there is still a lot that could be done.
Like MM said, cheap electricity caused people to disregard saving electricity. With more expensive electricity, people will actively demand better insulation in their houses, doors and fittings and shop owners ‘marketing’ vs ‘cost’ equation will change dramatically.

This issue comes back around to wages of course, it doesn’t SUIT the moneyed interests to increase inflation which would drive up their cost from both sides, services and wage increase. They are quite content for the workerbots to use 1990s scooters to get around , after all a vacation in Japan or a visit to the second home in the States can work wonders for the spirits.


#94

I stayed there for sometime but made sure I monitored my health. My blood pressure calculator was handy because I wanted to be in charge of my blood pressure all the time. I stayed in Tainan for a couple of years though.


#95

Yeah got this “I am 70”-feeling in Taiwan while I feel like 35-ish back home (I am really 51). Also busy swallowing tons of tablets (nice and colorful) during my stay here while I am healthy back home. Hoping to finally make it out (see wife, kid) in 2 years from now…

Edit: Probably grave digging. I still didn’t get this new website style…


#96

Stick around. You’ll get used to it.

Kind of like a metaphor for living in Taiwan… :stuck_out_tongue:

Guy


#97

I will. And my health problem currently is like an old curse. When I was younger I thought older folks back home (Germany) are too over the top with always saying cold air and cold wind especially indoors would be bad for health.
Now after getting 50 I seem to get a sinus infection whenever any aircon blows at me. Must be an error in the German DNA. Like a gene combining “follow the leader” and “get sick from a bit of wind”.