Editorial; Energy Conservation

Article excerpt

Global warming is one of the greatest causes for concern among the world's scientists. Climatologists claim there has already been a perceptible warming, especially during the last quarter of the 20th century and expect the trend will accelerate in coming decades. A common prediction is that there will be a 2.0 degree Celsius rise by 2100, said to be the largest warming in the past 10,000 years.

A chilling forecast states that a two degree hike would cause sea levels to rise around 50 meters due to a partial melting of the polar ice caps, wiping out a number of small island states, such as the Maldives, and forcing the displacement of millions of people in other low-lying areas such as Bangladesh.

Scientists believe that rising levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of oil and other fossil fuels is warming the Earth's atmosphere by trapping heat from the Sun, causing a greenhouse effect.

International agreements have been negotiated in the past several years in an effort to slow the release of carbon dioxide, a toxic substance, in hopes of preventing rises in temperature. The move is considered to be right in view of the serious consequences that the situation, if left unchecked, can bring about

In a latest development, environmental ministers from the world's leading industrialized nations held a conference last weekend at the western Japanese city of Otsu to ratify a historic protocol on global warming. They concluded two days of talks with a final communique that said they would ratify the 1997 Kyoto protocol no later than 2002, though a final agreement has

yet to come. The 1997 Kyoto accord calls for the United States to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses to seven percent below what they were in 1990. Europe and Japan were asked to make respective cuts of eight and seven percent below 1990 levels according to the accord.

The advanced nations are also determined to enforce the rule on developing nations including Korea. Considering the fact that coal, oil, natural gas and other forms of energy have been the key physical ingredients of economic growth for most countries, the reduction of their use, particularly in developing countries like Korea, would be a difficult task to carry out. The advanced nations would have less difficulties due to the high energy efficiency of their industries in addition to their developments of energies that can replace fossil fuels.

A chilling report says the amount of energy consumption in developing countries is increasing at an alarming rate. Per capita energy use in the industrialized world is more than five times that of developing countries, where 80 percent of the world's population lives. …