The Kyoto Protocol (KP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1997 to reduce greenhouse gasses that cause global warming. From 2008 to 2012, 38 developed nations are required to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions to the specific levels by at least 5.2% below their 1990 levels. Carbon credits (CC), defined in the 17th clause of the KP, have been implemented as a way to decrease the greenhouse effect on industrial nations to mitigate global warming. The UNFCC gives authority to each country making it discharge carbon credits at a certain standard. If one country surpasses this level, it has to buy the carbon credits on international markets. In this issue, Chonnam Tribune examines the problem of global warming through a discussion conducted with four members of LPG, an English campus club.
Moderator: Former Vice President of the U.S., Al Gore and the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change were co-awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their prominent environmental activities to raise awareness of global warming all over the world. I think we should start with the causes of global warming.
Chul-hee: These days, greenhouse gases consisting of water vapor and carbon dioxide have been the main causes of global warming. The Earth’s temperature has been increasing continuously since the Industrial Revolution. Moreover, the chemical most responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer is Freon gas which is discharged from refrigerators and air conditioners, and Freon can also be a cause of global warming.
Moderator: What are the potential effects of global warming on the environment?
Geun-hyo: We would not be able to eat from a stable food in the near future because agricultural land in many areas may become smaller due to global warming.
Hyung-geun: It is expected that there will be extreme climate change all over the world, especially, in which has four distinct seasons. In , spring and autumn will be getting shorter, and summer and winter will become longer.
Chan-ho: The temperature of the Pacific Ocean has risen, and North Pole icesheet and the perpetual snow on
Kilimanjaro have been melting. These could lead to serious disasters. There is a higher possibility of an extended typhoon season in the near future.
Moderator: To implement the agreement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, many developed countries will have to buy carbon credits in coming years. Let’s talk about what a CC is and how this affects .
Chul-hee: At first, I would like to tell you about the KP. It is an environmental agreement among more than 150 countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the , responsible for 28% of carbon dioxide emissions in the world, did not ratify the KP to protect industries of its own country. Even though it is not included on the list of developed nations yet, it is possible that should be required to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions commencing in 2013.
Geun-hyo: The CC system has been implemented by the UNFCC to mitigate the greenhouse effect based on the quantity of carbon dioxide that each developed country gives off, with the KP which calls for developed countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to a standard amount relative to carbon dioxide emission quantities of 1990 by 2012. Eco-friendly countries which discharge relatively small carbon dioxide emissions compared to industrialized nations can sell their carbon credits and obtain economic benefit. On the other hand, if countries emit a lot of carbon dioxide and exceed the standard amount, some taxes will be imposed on them.
Chan-ho: As you know, companies do not voluntarily reduce carbon dioxide emission amounts because all economies are managed by incentive and penalty. I think the CC system is effective for alleviating global warming in that many countries have to implement the agreement obligatorily.
Geun-hyo: I agree, but adoption of the agreement would slow the development of related industries having unlimited potential by limiting their productivity. It is one of the reasons why the U.S will not ratify the agreement.
Chul-hee: Up to now, fossil fuels are valuable resources as the major energy source of the whole world. If the regulations against using fossil fuels expand, they could hinder the economic development of some countries. It is one of the biggest faults of the carbon credit system. So, I think that national quotas on the maximum amount of greenhouse gases should be set properly and fairly based on meaningful reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of developing and developed countries.
Moderator: Do you have any ideas of how to prevent global warming from becoming more serious. What can we do to make the greenhouse effect decrease?
Chul-hee: We need to develop and operate various weather-related or environmental programs to inform the general public to the seriousness of global warming and the importance of greenhouse gases emission reductions. has a program where people cannot drive cars on a day and the people just use a bicycle or are on foot once a month. I think it is needed to raise weather-related professionals who can give appropriate advice for environmental conservation.
Geun-hyo: We have to do trivial things such as taking public transportation, saving water, and turning off lights. Many students are likely to regard the seriousness of global warming as an unfamiliar thing that will never happen in their generation. Therefore, we have to inform its seriousness at first through a campaign and a public service advertisement. There is currently no campaign program related to global warming. This seems to be the most effective measure to the problem, and then upload messages to the Internet.
We should be concerned with the seriousness and effects of global warming. Even if we do not know about the consequences, we cannot escape the disaster that would be caused by global warming, which is getting more serious and threatening our life little by little. There is no alternative. We should make a great effort to conserve the environment, and keep it for the generations to come. The authorities should enact a law on preventing global warming and ordinary people should make an effort to do something even if just doing a trivial thing in order to reduce the effects of global warming.
By Park Sue-hye, Guest Reporter
#280 Global Lounge