Recently, the abnormal climate has become a serious threat across the globe; reason being global warming. Global warming means that the global average surface temperature rises, and the greenhouse effect occurs when carbon dioxide increases through fossil fuel emissions, or anything related. If the global temperature continues to rise, abnormal climate phenomena like heat waves, desertification, and a decrease in temperature will occur. In addition, a recent study shows that COVID-19 is also related to climate change due to increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, drawing immediate attention to reducing it. Unfortunately, Korea emits the most greenhouse gases in the energy usage, by buildings and transportation. However, many Koreans are making several attempts to prevent climate change by reducing these greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some examples of fighting climate change.
1. Carbon Neutral by 2050
As previously stated, the main reason for climate change is carbon emissions by the increased consumption of fossil fuels. To solve this problem, President Moon Jae In declared that Korea will achieve 'carbon neutral' by 2050 during his budget speech. He stated, "We will replace coal power with renewable energy to create new markets and industries" in the seeable future. His plan is known as The Green New Deal. The plan is to replace old buildings with eco-friendly facilities, expand electricity and hydrogen cars, create low carbon industrial complexes, and expand financial support for local renewable energy businesses. The Green New Deal refers to sustainable development centered on the environment and the current population, including shifting fossil energy to renewable energy. The Seoul Metropolitan Government recently established 2050 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan for the first time in Korea. It is also pushing for an eco-mileage program that can convert mileages into eco-friendly products and cash if citizens reduce carbon emissions by more than 5-15% compared to existing usage every six months.
2. 'Environment', 'Social' and 'Governance' (ESG)
ESG is the idea that sustainable development can be achieved by considering transparent management such as eco-friendly, social responsibility management, and governance improvement in corporate actions. Corporations, today, are beginning to focus on increasing eco-friendly sustainability through innovative efforts to simultaneously create economic, social, and environmental values. Corporations must understand the importance of their role in environmental sustainability, to combat climate change, and must invest in ESG for stability and innovation. Companies such as NAVER and KAKAO are introducing ESG management in hopes of gradually achieving renewable energy by 2040 all the while effecting positive changes on the environment.
3. Reduction of Household Waste
According to the Ministry of Environment (ME), household waste increased significantly in the first half of this year compared to the previous year. The reason for this increase was the use of plastic from food deliveries and online purchases of household goods due to COVID-19. Plastic is notoriously difficult to recycle, and it emits toxic gases during the processing, leading to air pollution more waste. There are three things we can do to stop plastic waste. First, reuse plastic. As an alternative to the plastic recycling problem, shops that refill laundry detergent and cosmetics are good sources of reusing products instead of consuming more waste. Second, reduce the use of disposable containers. When ordering delivery food, refrain from using disposable plastic utensils and order from restaurants serving food in multi-use containers. Third, buy only when necessary. Instead of buying based on impulse or boredom, only buy what's necessary and this will reduce the amount of waste over time.
If we fail to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 or refuse to act quickly, climate change will only bring the inevitable; a dying world. Greenhouse gases are already affecting our daily lives, so it’s imperative to switch to renewable energy as soon as possible. It is time for governments, corporations, and individuals to respond to this climate crisis. Korean people will be able to cope with the climate crisis by governments implementing fundamental environmental policies to transform fossil energy into renewable energy, by corporations accelerating sustainable corporate management through ESG business strategies, and by individuals reusing products and reducing waste.