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[Opinion] Global Warming

Posted October. 10, 2007 07:22,   


As we speak, Tuvalu, a Pacific island nation, is suffering from flooding due to rising sea levels. Out of her eight islands, two have already been inundated. At full tide, high waves advance to the backyards of people’s houses and its people have already applied for collective immigration to Australia and New Zealand.

Tuvalu is a member state of the AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States), which is an organization that is composed of states whose lands are in danger of being inundated due to global warming. These small island countries have been the hardest hit by world’s recent extreme weather conditions.

Morgan Stanley, a leading global financial services firm, released a report recently and said that weather conditions will be the most significant factor affecting the global economy in the future.

Even though global warming is a major source of weakening global markets due to its negative impact on productivity and capital investment, outcomes could be different in accordance with how states deal with such unfavorable conditions. The report named France, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Italy as countries that have taken the upper hand. They have already improved their economic structure to reducing greenhouse gases. Plus, their lands are located in high latitudes, which are less affected by changing weather conditions.

On the other hands, the report warned that oil-producing countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran will be hard hit by global warming. Even though they have a great deal of oil money now, under their monolithic economic structures that rely on oil exports, they are not equipped to deal with global warming.

However, Brazil, which has a plenty of natural resources, is in a somewhat different situation. The global market is paying a great deal of attention to the potential of Brazil in the biofuels sector. Brazil is emerging as a leader in the ethanol energy market, a new alternative energy resource, and has already received an offer from the U.S.

Korea is neither an oil-producing county nor island state. However, Korea was designated as one of the most vulnerable countries together with the U.S., Australia, and Poland. The report said that this group of countries could be hardest hit by weather condition changes and the amount of emissions of greenhouse gases. The changing weather conditions could trigger global stagflation. An emerging market such as Korea is particularly vulnerable to such conditions. However, hope remains for us because Korea was also pointed out as a country that can wisely deal with changing weather conditions. The question of whether we can fall as a nation or advance to global power status remains in our hands.

Chung Seong-hee, Editorial Writer, shchung@donga.com