[Viewpoint]A warm wind blowsThe rainy season is finally over. It rained more this year than most, and the recent heat has been fiercer than in other years.
Critics lambasted the Korea Meteorological Administration after it issued a series of incorrect weather forecasts.
This extraordinary weather has made people more aware about climate change. Global warming has emerged as a major issue, something that concerns most people.
A few days ago, the National Energy Committee, presided over by President Roh, concluded a “new national strategy to cope with climate change,” including using the market functions to control carbon emissions, the main cause of global warming.
The core of that strategy is to start trading carbon emission rights at the end of this year.
The government has been in charge of the registration and management of 50 carbon dioxide emissions businesses, considering the difficulties the industrial circles have had in handling the matter.
The committee also decided to increase the proportion of new and renewable energy consumed to 9 percent from the present 2 percent, while decreasing the dependence on oil by 35 percent.
That is welcome news, for now.
But given the Korean government’s attitude and efforts toward climate change and energy issues, we honestly don’t have very high expectations of the measures.
First, the creation of a market for emission rights is nothing but an attempt to make a sort of junior league among us.
Although the purpose is good, the theme seems like something that would be awkward to discuss and talk about in front of the president. The issue should have been handled as working-level business.
Furthermore, the talk about increasing the consumption of new and renewable energy to nine percent has already been announced several times.
It is hard not to think that our national strategy to deal with both climate change and energy problems falls short of global standards.
Usually, there are three approaches to climate change: mitigating greenhouse gases, adapting to climate change and negotiating for a climate change treaty.
Our government and businesses seem interested only in the litigation of greenhouse gases and negotiations for a treaty.
But the task facing our nation and mankind on Earth is the question of how to adapt to the climate conditions that get more strange every day.
Climate changes can also be developed into new business opportunities.
This is what businesses should get interested in. Let’s take the example of the “Cool Biz” movement in Japan.
The idea of the movement is to do without neckties to endure the summer, which gets hotter day by the day, and to save energy.
The idea has now taken root in summer lifestyles. New businesses have appeared as a result.
“Cool Biz” shirts, designed stylishly instead of shirts that look untidy without ties, became the summer outfits of Japanese men.
This movement has yet reached our country, either our fashion business community either doesn’t understand the market opportunity or our people lack fashion sense.
Climate gives birth to culture and culture to business.
We, too, have to take interest in a new climate culture. History’s major changes have been largely due to the natural environment rather than human beings.
We have an urgent task: to create a culture in which we can properly adapt to climate change by analyzing and predicting its impact.
And if the effort leads to a new growth engine for our country, it will pave the way for sustainable development.
The core concept of the third industrial revolution that recently began in European countries is to accommodate the environment with the economy.
We should understand the necessity to overcome global warming. The excessive emission of greenhouse gases that has triggered that revolution.
*The writer is a professor at Sejong University and president of the Korea Environmental Management Society. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.
by Lee Byung-wook