Energy as Weapon, Energy as Future

Linking Climate Change, Biodiversity and Energy to Sustainable Development and Ecosystem

Workshop Update - Day 2 (3 Feb 2015)
Resilience Energy has become a matter of national security. A nation needs energy to keep its economy and civilization. Without it no one can maintain its current status. In other words, energy has become a weapon. We have seen Russia using its natural gas supply to Europe as a political pressure. We have seen how United States used its shale gas to bring a collapse to oil market. Energy and its price, they are not just a graph of the market showing on TV. It is something that could change your life tomorrow morning.

Today (3 Feb 2015), at iCUBE (the International Consortium of Universities for the Study of Biodiversity and the Environment) workshop, experts from around the world gathered at Korea University and shared their vision of the sustainable energy mechanism. Prof. Jae-Seung Lee from Korea University explained how global energy market changes now and then. Economic, industry, business and even geopolitics affect energy market and it makes Korea, a nation completely depending on imported energy, vulnerable to outside causes. Prof. Lee suggested that building a sustainable energy mechanism will make the world less-vulnerable to these crisis. We need low carbon mechanism and energy transition to green energy which means we need to be less dependent on imported fossil fuels and natural gases.

How can we transfer to sustainable energy mechanism? Opportunely Korea just started its first big step this year, Carbon Emission Trading Scheme (hereinafter referred to ‘ETS’). Prof. Youngsung Cho from Korea University presented the mechanism of ETS to participants. ETS is a system for trading a right to emit carbon. At first, it was invented for mitigating climate change but it has proven to be a mean of building sustainable development. Once ETS is taken effect, all economic organizations receive a quota of carbon. After that, they are enforced to trade the quotas with each other. They shouldn’t emit more carbon than their quotas. This mechanism makes economic organizations to seek for effective energy usage so they can reduce their carbon emissions. This means they are likely to reduce their energy consumption, invest and develop other means of energy such as green energy. This leads to less national energy demand and more independence from global energy crisis which ensure energy security of Korea.

Experts from around the world identified the problems we have and the solutions we should pursuit. They all agreed that the crisis on energy market will be severed more and more as conflict between nations and global economy insecurity will increase as well. With sustainable energy mechanism, we can fight climate change as we ensure our energy security. That is why energy is a weapon, but at the same time, it is future.