12 Hot-button Issues in the Era of Climate Crisis

AUTHOR : Jung, Tae Yong , Cha Hyeonjin
ISBN : 9781635190526
PUBLICATION DATE : September 15 ,2022,
SPINE SIZE : 0.10 inches
PAGES : 412
SIZE : 6.1 * 8.9 inches
WEIGHT : 1.4 pounds
PRICE : $40.95
I have realized that climate change is real. In 2020, it kept raining for almost two months during summer, but July in 2021 we experienced sweltering hot whether for an entire month. Very strong extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts, wildfires, and typhoons, have been occurring frequently in every corner of the world. As these events strike different parts of the world, they are no longer the stuff of news headlines that catch our eyes and ears. Humanity is witnessing the rapid approach of the climate crisis. However, we still do not seem to have any sense of urgency regarding this issue. We consider tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, which spread worldwide from late 2019, more urgent than dealing with this distant problem, because at the moment so many people worldwide have lost their lives to COVID-19, and people’s lives have been upended.
Climate change is not an immediate problem, so people simply do not pay much attention. But if climate change destroyed entire ecosystems and posed problems to human systems, how would we address it? Climate change is not a problem to which the entire world can find a single solution, like a vaccine or treatment. Each country and place will have their own problems related to climate change, which are much more complicated and more diverse, and therefore it is necessary to find localized solutions depending on circumstances in each area. Even if one individual or one country does well, it will not solve the climate change problem, which is why communities and countries worldwide need to work together. The very fact that all the people in the world need to cooperate suggests that climate change is essentially difficult to solve, because humans have never worked together, joining forces to solve a global problem on which the survival of the entire humanity depends.
Since I became aware of the climate change issue for the first time in 1992, I have been working in this area, studying this issue at several institutions and international organizations helping developing countries in reducing greenhouse gasses. I was also involved as a lead author for the special report titled the Special Report on Emission Scenario, which was published for the first time by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the late 1990s. Twenty years later, now I am working again on the 6th Assessment Report of the IPCC as a coordinatinglead author. For more than thirty years, the IPCC has been publishing the assessment reports, compiling results of various scientific researches and studies on climate change. Thanks to the IPCC reports, there remain just a handful of scientists who disagree with the view that human activity has been accelerating climate change. Most people seem to agree that climate change is accelerated by the human activities, which unfortunately seems to be all that we have agreed on so far.
It was from the early 1990s that the international community started discussing the climate change issue in earnest. Over the last three decades, the international community has made great efforts to deal with related problems in various sectors. Every year the Conference of Parties (COP) is held at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change where climate negotiators from different countries work together, burning the midnight oil. Unfortunately, they were unable to reach a consensus about the goal that humanity must achieve together until recently. It was not until 2015 that they reached an agreement at the COP of the UNFCCC in Paris on the common goal that the international community should achieve over the next 30 years. With the Paris Agreement, they made a commitment to make all efforts to keep the average global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared to the average temperature around the planet before the Industrial Revolution, and further below 1.5 degrees Celsius. In order to achieve such ambitious goal, many countries across the world have announced their specific goal of reaching Net Zero of carbon emissions by 2050. Republic of Korea (ROK) is among them.
In ROK, many experts, policymakers, environmental groups, and individuals have also been making tireless efforts to address the climate change issue over the last three decades. Almost all topics on resolving the climate change issue have been discussed: reduction in greenhouse gases, low-carbon industry structure, energy transition, adaptation to climate change, nurturing relevant experts, sustainable production and consumption, and eco- friendly behavior patterns, to name a few. They have also tried to find solutions to this issue, taking part enthusiastically in discussions at home and abroad. During the Lee Myung-bak Administration, under the slogan of “Green Growth”, they tried to promote green growth around the world. Placing great emphasis on the coal-exit policy and the Green New Deal policy, the Moon Jae-in Administration declared the goal of Carbon Neutrality (stop emitting carbon dioxide altogether) by 2050 and spent enormous amount of money on the transition to a low-carbon society.
However, it is still difficult to say that ROK has yielded meaningful outcomes in terms of reduction in greenhouse gases and adaptation to climate change over the last 30 years. For the past 10 years, in particular, ROK has been taking part in the efforts made by the international community to address climate change, advocating green growth, but its GHG emissions have continued to increase. In addition, ROK is the world’s 10th largest economy but also the 7th or 8th emitter of GHGs. Every new administration promised the international community that it would reduce GHG emissions by more than 20-30%, only to see emissions increase of GHG emissions continuously, presenting ROK as a country that failed to keep its promise. While other countries including those in Europe have managed to reduce GHG emissions, GHG emissions in ROK have only kept increasing for such reasons as manufacturing based industrial structure, export-oriented economy, and high energy costs. It is now time for us to accept criticism from the international community with a cool head.
Responding to climate change is like running a full marathon. Of course, it may be hard to say that our generation has done a good job in the first half of the race over the last three decades. I am convinced, however, that we can do better in the latter half of the race over the next three decades. That is because future generations will be able to understand this issue better and thus develop more effective solutions. Being aware of this issue, authors try to answer the same question, writing this book together: “How should we respond to the climate crisis?”
Particularly, one author representing the future generation is involved in writing this book to answer this question. This young author looks into the following questions from the perspective of the future generation: “What are the problems with the current generation and how can we deal with the climate crisis from a forward-looking perspective?” The student then asks: “What has the current generation done to solve the climate change issue?” To this simple question asked by the high-school student, the remaining authors of this book and the current generation would probably answer like this: “There is not much that we have done …”
Upon reflection, I realize that the global community and the current generation have been all talk when it comes to doing something about climate change. Of course, over the last 30 years, technology has advanced significantly and a lot of resources have been invested into solving this issue, and many people have tried to expand the awareness that climate change is a problem facing all the people across the world. Still, these efforts fall far short of what has to be done from the perspective of the future generation. Writing this book together, experts in various fields have tried to understand and answer the question “How can we deal with the climate crisis?” from different perspectives.
A variety of ways to look at climate change, such as issues related to water, urban development, energy, economic aspects, even response by a central bank, and a consumer’ point of view, have been presented along with possible solutions to these issues. The seemingly patchy composition of this book itself represents the immense, multifarious nature of climate change. Of course, the issue can never be addressed with expertise in one sector alone or lopsided policies. Approaching this complex issue requires a wide variety of views and long-term perspectives.
An American critic wrote a book that depicts a gloomy future when “there will no habitable places in around 2050 due to the climate disaster.” Bill Gates, one of the world’s most influential business leaders, emphasizes the severity and urgency of this issue, even calling it a “climate disaster”, not just climate crisis. There have been animated discussions around the world about finding new energy sources to replace carbon-based fuels and building economic systems in a different way. All of these are efforts to answer the question of how to respond to the impending climate crisis. Writing this book together, the authors try to answer this question too. Meanwhile, we can see each country strive to secure competitiveness during this period of seismic transformation by proactively responding to the climate crisis. The authors also put forward ideas on how ROK can secure its competitiveness under these circumstances.
Personally, I have been involved in writing this book together with other experts as part of an effort to wrap up the first half of my 30-year career in the field of climate change and to answer the question of how to prepare for the latter half. Co-authoring this book was a highly valuable experience, through which I could learn a lot more. As one climatologist cried out, “The current generation is the last generation to stave off the climate crisis!” it struck a chord with me. I really hope that we can make a little contribution to the global efforts to prevent the climate crisis from hitting us in 30 years.
Finally, I would like to thank all the authors for their great writing and timely contribution to meet a hectic and tight schedule for publication. This book was translated into English with the support of the KU GETPPP. I am grateful to all the people who have helped this book come to fruition. I would like to thank Kang Dahyun, a PhD student at Yonsei University, for collecting the writings from the authors, editing them and organizing the references. I also thank CEO Roh Hyun of Pakyoung Story, Deputy Manager Jeon Chae-rin, Director Bae Geun-ha, and Jang Woong, a writer, who worked on publication of this book. This wonderful team was waiting patiently, editing and designing the book, and taking care of all trivial things, thanks to which we could have this great book published.

Jung, Tae Yong

Professor, Graduate School of International Studies Yonsei University

Cha Hyeonjin

Advisor, Bank of Korea

Ha, Ji-won
President, Ecomom Korea

Hong, Il-pyo
Research Fellow, Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology

Kang, Sung Jin
Professor, Department of Economics, Korea University

Kim, E Hyun
Senior, Dongtan Global High School

Kim, Hyung-Ju
Director General, Green Technology Center

Kim, HyunJae
Senior Research Fellow, Korea Energy Economics Institute

Kim, Yong-Gun
Chief Research Fellow, Korea Environment Institute

Lee, Dong-Kun
Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Rural System Engineering, Seoul National University

Park, Chan
Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Urban Science, University of Seoul

Park, Jooyoung
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Energy and Environment, Korea University

Yoo, Yeon-Chul
Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network Korea

Is It the North Star That We are Looking At? /Kim, E Hyun

Water, friend or foe in the era of the Climate Crisis? /Hong, Il-pyo

Are Cities Safe in The Climate Crisis? /Park, Chan

How Do We Adapt to the Climate Crisis? /Lee, Dong-Kun

Circular Economy That ImprovesResource Efficiency, How Can It be of Help to Address The Climate Crisis?/Park, Jooyoung

Addressing Climate Crisis, What Do We Need to Do With Stranded Industry? /Kang, SungJin

Can Money Prevent the Climate Crisis? /Cha, Hyeonjin

Can Climate Technology Be a Savior for Escaping from the Climate Crisis? /Kim, Hyung-Ju

How Should Energy Transition for Carbon Neutrality be Pursued? /Kim, HyunJae

How Can the Carbon Market Help Achieve Carbon Neutrality? /Kim, Yong-Gun
Major Players in the Green Survival Era, Who are They? /Ha, Ji-won

Does the International Community Respond Enough to Climate Crisis? /Yoo, Yeon-chul

HowShouldWeRespondtoClimate Crisis? /Jung, Tae Yong