[LETTERS to the editor]Climate change controls needed

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[LETTERS to the editor]Climate change controls needed

A recent report by the United Nations Environment Program warned that the earth’s sixth major extinction is underway because of human activities, such as deforestation and land clearing for farming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also warned in its report about the serious influence that greenhouse gases will have on living organisms.
International organizations are paying particular attention to climate change caused by human activities because of threat to life on earth, including that of humans.
Korea’s development plans, however, lack measures to prepare for such threats. We need a comprehensive approach to address the issue ― something more than energy-efficient technology.
Today’s urban development principles, which are formed based on economic efficiency and functionalism, are not enough to guarantee the continued survival of humans in the next century. With a view that human and other living organisms must coexist, we need to review our plans for urban sprawl and the environment.
Many cities claim that they hope to become climate-friendly, but without real action, that is nothing more than an empty slogan. We must introduce a system to evaluate climate change as a priority. Climate change must be dealt with as air pollution and included in our environmental evaluation system.
We should also find a new system to designate the ratio of green spaces to population. We also need regulations on trees to control reckless cutting down of forests. Those who maintain or plant trees should be given benefits.
With rapid development projects concentrated in the capital region, green spaces are decreasing while carbon dioxide emissions are growing. We need the wisdom to realistically assess the amount of such emissions in order to adjust our development projects. Only when we have a policy to protect our environment will the human future escape from dark shadows.
Kim Kwi-gon, professor of environmental studies at Seoul National University
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