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작성일 : 11-07-26 14:11
Enerzine No 12. Why dump the companies’ responsibility on the people?
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   Enerzine No. 12 Why dump the companies’ responsibility on the people.pdf (188.1K) [8] DATE : 2011-07-26 14:11:52
1. Issues

Why dump the companies’ responsibility on the people?
 
Last June, the South Korean government allocated greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets to each section. The government’s suggestion, however, was met with public opposition because it was very favorable to the companies. The GHG emission of the industrial sector in South Korea in 2007 was 51.5%, that of the home and commerce sector was 22.6%, and that of the transport sector was 14.4%, but the targets proposed by the government included a 34.3% reduction from the transport sector, which does not contribute to the current total GHG emission, and 26.9% from the home and commerce sector. On the other hand, for the industry sector, the highest-GHG-emitting sector, only a 25.3% reduction target was assigned. This is a very ironic structure considering the amounts of GHG emitted by companies and people. Further, the rate of increase in the energy demand in the industrial sector is way above those in the other sectors. While the energy demand in the home and commerce sector was reduced by 18.3% in 2007 from 1990, that in the industrial sector increased by 91.6%.
 
Already, the South Korean people are experiencing serious discrimination compared to the companies. The rate of electricity for family use is excessively high compared with that for industrial use. The rate of electricity for industrial use was about 72.2% of that for family use in 1980, but this rate decreased, and the gap became serious, in 2007, as the rate of electricity for industrial use became only 67.8% of that for family use. Even though Korea Electric Power Corporation has been in chronic deficit, it is subsidized with the people’s taxes because it is a public enterprise. In other words, the South Korean people are paying the salaries of the executives and shareholders of the company, who break their sales records every year. If the GHG emission targets proposed by the government will be implemented, the ironic system involving the GHG emission targets for the people and companies will become permanent, and social inequality will become worse. The civil society thus strongly resists the implementation of the said system, and insists that the industrial sector should take greater responsibility in reducing the country’s GHG emission, but the government is adamant on implementing the aforementioned ironic system.
 
Reducing the total amount of the country’s GHG emission is very important, but even more important is how to fairly share such responsibility. It is quite surprising that the citizens are being oppressed so as to give more benefits to the companies, and that the government tags this as “green growth” and as the “I first” spirit.

Written by Jin-woo, Lee (Researcher: purevil@naver.com)


2. Opinions

The only way to make the world safer and more peaceful: Give up nuclear power

After the Fukushima incident, every country in the world reconsidered its nuclear policy, and serious conflicts regarding the continuance of the establishment and operation of nuclear power plants have arisen between the local residents and the local governments in the Asian countries near Japan, such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. The multiple problems caused by nuclease in Indonesia can be seen in After Fukushima: The Rise of the Resistance to Nuclear Energy in Indonesia published by German Asia Foundation.

The most fundamental problem in relation to nuclear energy is its composition. Indonesia’s interest in nuclear energy was sparked by its desire to develop nuclear bombs and weapons after the Second World War. Even though such ambition has vanished for many reasons, it can be noted that there is actually only a slight difference between using nuclear power for making weapons and as energy.

The second concern is safety. Nuclear power plants cannot be 100% safe despite the development and use of stronger construction techniques and the implementation of safe management. We should not underestimate the environmental disaster that it may cause, especially for countries like Indonesia, where earthquakes frequently occur.

The third concern is the related conflict between regions. In the 1990s, there was an announcement in Indonesia that Muria Peninsula was the most suitable place for nuclear power plants. Muria Peninsula, however, is a religiously important place. As such, the local people started resisting the establishment of nuclear power plants, and this anti-nuclear network has been active. This is just a small conflict, but there are many regional conflicts that are currently occurring and that are bound to occur in the future if nuclear power plants will indeed be built in such peninsula basically because nuclear power plants will be built in a local area where not many people live when more energy is needed in the main cities. This will cause energy injustice.

Nuclear power plants pose a huge threat from their birth. It is very myopic to think that we can attain sustainable development and national security through them. On the contrary, the only way that we can obtain true peace and wellness for humans is to give up nuclear power.

Written by Bo-Young, Cho (Researcher: jobo8184@yahoo.co.kr)

3. New Report

ECPI suggests the "cap & tax” concept

Even though the free-market system approach holds a dominant position in the UN and several important developed countries are exerting efforts to address climate change, such approach has been criticized as being socially unfair and ineffective from the point of view of the climate justice movement. Alternatives to the free-market system approach are not adequately being discussed, however, and wide agreement is also lacking. As such, ECPI has conducted a study to search for alternatives, based on a critical view of the free-market system approach, typified by “emission trading.” This study was part of the support program for the policy institute under the new progressive party in South Korea.

Cited in the aforementioned study are “carbon tax,” which has already received much attention, and “personal carbon allocation,” which is relatively unfamiliar. As carbon tax uses a price mechanism, it may be understood as part of the free-market system approach, but it is evaluated as being more stable and effective than emission trading. Carbon tax, an indirect tax system, will merely cause tax reversibility, but it could ease off with a direct fuel grant for low-income families. Meanwhile, personal carbon allocation is based on the contraction and convergence model, which was suggested by Common Institute as a way of reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) on the international level in the early 1990s, and which takes shape with the concept of every person in each country fairly taking the same emission rights. Personal carbon allocation considers fairness one of the highest priorities among the many ways of reducing GHG emission, and although it involves a complex plan and has a potential to invade people’s privacy, it has enough attraction for examination.

ECPI suggested the conceptual design of “cap & tax” after reviewing some models of carbon tax and personal carbon allocation. This “cap & tax” concept adopts a cap function of total emission, which is effective for reducing GHG emission. Moreover, how to increase the tax on large GHG emitters and to stabilize low-income families’ energy expenses at the same time must be threshed out to secure equity. This concept will be made more concrete with further research and study.


Written by Jae-kak, Han (Deputy Director: hanclk@hanmail.net )

4. Act now
 
 1. Case study: Energy and climate injustice in Asia
    This summer ECPI going to Thailand, Philippine, Laos and Japan for researching on case of energy justice (Nuclear, Bio- fuel, energy poverty etc.) and climate justice (climate impacts, farmers etc)
    The result of the research will published with a book
   
 2. Education: ECPI hold ‘labor environment school’ with Trade Union

 
   
 




 
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