January 8, 2008

"A Green Bulldozer?"

John Feffer challenges the president-elect Lee Myong-bak to make the South Korean economy green, in light of the poor environmental record vis-a-vis South Korea's rapid postwar economic development. He also interestingly links energy efficiency and low carbon emissions with inter-Korea joint economic projects -- though some observers foresee increased environmental degradation in North Korea as a result of increased economic and mining activities.

[Photo: Cleanup of Seoul's Han River]


James Turnbull said...

I find John Feffer's sentiments noble but naive. Lee Myung-bak's restoration of the 5.8km Cheonggye stream, and the building of a small, treeless park in front of city hall, are certainly steps in the right direction, but they don't exactly mark a paradigm shift in Korean's attitudes towards the environment.

Personally, I'm a little tired of all the wishful thinking and hype about Lee Myung-bak's eco-credentials. The "postive signs" Feffer mentions, for instance, were all products of the previous Roh Mu-hyeon administration, but I'm sure Lee Myung-bak will take credit for those too. In the meantime, he seems determined to go ahead with his bizarre and wasteful canal project.

Actions speak MUCH louder than words (and unenforced legislation) in Korea, so as far as I'm concerned the jury is still definitely out on Lee Myung-bak's newfound environmentalism.

Korea Report said...

Reply comment from John Feffer:

Dear James Turnbull:

Thank you for your comment on my Korea Times op-ed. For the record, I have no illusions about LMB. But I do believe that it might be possible to take advantage of his own view of himself as an eco-friendly leader to push him further in that direction. A paradigm shift has not taken place in Korea, certainly. But it's not inconceivable. Just as RMH came in with the support of the labor unions only to push through the FTA, I'd like to see LMB come in with the support of the business community and push through a truly green platform.

When trying to persuade a leader, it is always best to use sugar rather than salt. He hasn't taken office yet. There will be plenty opportunity to criticize his policies later. If his actions prove unacceptable, I will definitely say so.

all the best,