Energy and Climate Policy Institute

작성일 : 12-05-31 14:23
Enerzine No. 21 Korea introduces emission-trading system
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1. Issues

Korea introduces emission-trading system, giving up the earth in favor of businesses

 Last April, the Korean national assembly passed an emission-trading law. Many civil society groups, trade unions, and farmers groups have been strongly opposed on introducing carbon market; however, the ostensible reason for introducing the global carbon market has been decided. Therefore, the voluntary emission-trading market in Korea will be launched in 2015. In this situation, the Solidarity for Climate Justice in KOREA, which ECPI and other groups participated, tried to impede the introduction of the carbon market. Nonetheless, a big environmental NGO agree the introduction of the carbon market and quietly supports the government position that has become permanent. The Korean emission trading system is not following an auction rate securities method but a free allocation of emission method which is at least 95% allocated as free (even with this rate, companies ask 100%). Moreover, the penalty system has slackened due to the regulated fines three times lower than the average market cost. The pilot program, which will operate until 2015, has a very incomprehensible system that admits emission credits handed on by companies without any indication of special progress. It is really a nonsensical condition exclusive for companies. It seems the steel industry and some others might be influenced, but companies lobbied to regulate even the amount of allocated emission could be flexibly adjusted depending on the production’s increase and decrease. In this situation, the efficacy of emission reductionis expected to be very low. On the contrary, a sign of a speculative market like various financial capitals is more interesting. Warning signs are observed on the reduction of greenhouse gas in Korea ranking the 9th biggest greenhouse gas emission country in the world. This shows an enormous increase in the rate of greenhouse gas, similar to that of China and India adhering to the carbon market system as a main policy. Now civil societies resist not introducing carbon market but the emission of direct regulation.

                                                                  Written by Jin-woo, Lee (Researcher:

No Nuclear power in Japan

National people’s demand to set down the all nuclear power plant has been growing after Fukushima in Japan. The Japanese government stopped the last operating nuclear reactor, Hokkaid Electric Power Co.’s No.3 unit at its Tomari plant in northern Japan for regular maintenance checks. This is thus the first shutdown of all Japan’s 50 reactors since 1970 for 42 years within which electricity has been supplied without nuclear. Even Japan, which took 28% of national electricity as a nuclear power generation before Fukushima accident in last year, stopped all nuclear power units, but social confusion has not continued. This situation has a huge impact to Korea and other counties that still operate nuclear power units. The horrifying story that huge black out will be the result of nuclear generation is exaggerated. Japan already passed electricity peak terms in summer and winter safely without using several nuclear units. Thorough demand management and people’s participation were the most important factors that reduce the demand for electricity. The only concern now is what amount of greenhouse gas emission is caused by power generation through natural gas and oil to replace the cessation of nuclear power units. Therefore, investment for renewable energy expanded more to avoid and make a permanent condition and block the way of low carbon energy system.

                                                          Written by Jae-kak, Han (Deputy Director:

2. Opinion
Cause of energy crisis and righteous resolution in North Korea
Recently ‘sharing’ has been a topic in Korea. The private supporter to least developed countries has increased. North Koreans’ right to live, however, is threatened ever more with the South-North talks that have reached a deadlock while the US has kept the containment policy to North Korea.

The main issue between South–North Korea and the US-North Korea is energy. Specifically, energy crisis in North Korea has created conflict in political, diplomatic, and military levels about nuclear weapon and nuclear power facilities among the countries directly involved. However, it needs to give attention to North Korean’s vicious cycle of poverty and crisis concerning fundamental human rights amidst North Korea’s energy crisis. Before evaluating North Korea’s government discussing political, diplomatic, and economical benefits, it needs to understand how the lives of people are devastated as caused by the energy crisis in North Korea.

According the testimony of North Korean defector, lack of fundamental heating fuel in winter is natural, and even North Korean scan have a meal for many days with less cooking due to fuel shortage. Would the slogan, “1W’s Energy is same as a drop of blood”be made if it were not that bad? Shrinking of industrial activities followed by serious energy shortage defines the vicious circle of poverty.

Shortage of food and energy; forest ecosystem destroyed

The oil shock caused by disuniting of the Soviet Union in 1991 serves as a decisive momentum of North Korea’s energy crisis. The oil supply of North Korea, which used to import oil half the price of international market price as a compensation trade, plunged with the disuniting of the Soviet Union. Disuniting of the Soviet Union causes not only oil supply but also shortage of electricity.

The decline of energy output from the power generation accelerated with the facilities’ wears and tears (caused by managing and maintenance work on energy infra of North Korea relying on the Soviet Union’s technologies such as firepower generation and hydroelectric power generation, among others) did not work.

Several natural disasters such as flood and drought occurred in mid-1990s with the disuniting move of the Soviet Union causing the fatal blow to the energy system of North Korea that is already exposed to vulnerability. The flood between 1995 and1996 destroyed crops, rural ecosystem, car roads, railway, and electricity transmission and distribution system in rural area. This means that the natural disaster performed the destruction of power consumption.

Many coalmines flooded and cause inconvenient to coal mining. The flood leads to soil loss with the soil flowing in the stream, river, and dams. This has created a dent in water resource and has destroyed power facilities. Thus, flood plays a part to make a dent in hydropower generation. 

The destruction of the forest ecosystem related fundamentally and deeply with the shortage of food and energy. A shortage of food and energy causes imprudent development in producing area and collecting plants, greens, and firewood. The destruction of the forest caused flood when localized heavy rain or rainy season. Flood triggers soil loss and other environmental problems. This environmental problem leads to the shortage of food and damage of natural environment was more serious.

North Korea made electricity-overspending structure relying on electricity to minimize oil consumption to follow the keynote ‘our salvation by our own effort’ in industry sector and carriage of goods sector. When electric power shortage aroused, coal producing also becomes a problem while electricity has interlocked structure. During this time of electric shortage, coal did not reach the mine due to transport deficiency. Not all transport for mining and coal worked properly, as they shared engine locomotive that used electricity. Lack of electricity created difficulty to procure coal, and this in turn created the problem of power generation.

Urgent energy support along with food

Basic standards to solve energy crisis in North Korea are needed: approach of sustainability; solve the fundamental crisis of nuclear in the Korean peninsula; establish energy basic rights for North Korean; access to direction to make a base for unification of the Korean peninsula; and environment, economics, social farness, level of technique, time and acceptability has to be concerned in the process to make a detailed plan. The way to solve energy crisis of North Korea is to establish basic energy rights through small- and medium-sized renewable energy support as a level of humanitarianism. This will be intended for the private sector, the maintenance of existing power generation, and the construction of a renewable energy complex such as wind power for the industrial sector.

                                                        Written by Kang-Jun, Lee (Researcher:


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