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Sept. 21: Taiwan, too – letters to the ROB editor

The plan would combine efforts in the aviation industry to improve fuel efficiency – thereby cutting GHG emissions – and an offset market based on projects undertaken by developers.

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Taiwan, too

Re Governments look to finalize aviation cap (Sept. 17): While the International Civil Aviation Organization is going to discuss whether to finalize a global deal on capping emissions in the aviation industry at its triennial assembly beginning Sept. 27, it is our hope that an important piece, Taiwan, is not missing.

Taiwan is by no means a small piece. Its Taoyuan International Airport was ranked 11th and sixth in the world in passenger and cargo volumes, respectively. In the same year, 74 airlines offered services to and from Taiwan, operating scheduled passenger and cargo flights on 301 routes and connecting 135 cities around the world. And the Taipei Flight Information Region – administered by Taiwan – provided more than 1.5 million instances of air-traffic-control services and handled 58 million incoming and outgoing passengers in 2015.

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With such prominent scale in civil aviation, Taiwan hopes to be invited again, following the precedent of 2013, to participate in the ICAO assembly so as to join the international discussion regarding the safety, security and environmental issues in the global aviation sector.

The upholding of a safe and pollution-free sky should be a team effort; no part of the world should be excluded. Meaningful participation by Taiwan will contribute both to the fulfillment of the ICAO's overarching mission and to the success of a global strategy to address greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.

Catherine Hsu, director-general, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Toronto

Other damage

Re Barrick's Argentina mine suspended after cyanide spill (Sept. 16): This wire-service article mentions a spill that happened at the same mine one year ago at Barrick's Veladero mine. It reported that, according to tests, this spill "did not contaminate local water supplies." But according to the judge who suspended the mine's operations, reports merely found there to be no cyanide contamination – they did not rule out the possibility of other environmental damage due to the spill. Indeed, a subsequent report released by the University de Cuyo showed that the water was contaminated with heavy metals and was unfit for consumption, irrigation, livestock and aquatic life.

According to Argentine news reports, Barrick misreported the size of the spill twice (from 15,000 litres to over one million), charges were brought against nine Barrick employees and the company itself was fined more than $9-million in connection to this spill.

Sakura Saunders, Toronto

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Crucial details

Re Canadian carbon policy is no either/or proposition (Aug. 24): Maria Panezi makes some excellent points – all pricing mechanisms have potential drawbacks. Pricing carbon will not be as simple as choosing the best mechanism because, like so many things, the devil is in the details.

The border adjustments she raises may be an important factor in protecting Canadian businesses when carbon pricing is implemented. We must also look to protect Canadian citizens. If carbon pricing is going to help us through the transition to a cleaner economy, it will have to motivate behavioural change in people, but a properly designed system can make the transition easier for average Canadians.

One of those crucial details in this case is where the money goes. Will the federal government decide how to spend it, or the provinces? Will it be returned to the people in tax breaks as in British Columbia, or by direct payment like the fee and dividend system? If the price is to get high enough to instigate serious change (most estimates are over $100 a tonne), then most or all of it must go back into the economy somehow. Let's see if we can't design a system that works to significantly reduce our emissions while protecting average Canadians at the same time.

Jack Morton, Toronto

Letters to the editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit by e-mail, send to:

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