The roads and cars are flooded, and the cattle is floating on the water as the barn sinks. An unprecedented rainy season and heavy rains caused large and small damages throughout the Korean Peninsula. In particular, this year’s rainy season lasted for 54 days (from June 24 to August 16), surpassing the record for the longest period ever. Why has this rainy season broken the record?
Some climate experts’ answers for the cause of the record-breaking rainy season is a “climate crisis.” They predict that unpredictable weather anomalies like this year’s flooding will become more frequent. "We are already facing a climate disaster," said Chung Sang-hoon who is a climate energy campaigner at Greenpeace's Seoul office. He said, "It is urgent to come up with fundamental measures to deal with the climate crisis disaster that will continue to occur along with the recovery of damage.” This abnormal climate is usually caused by the effects of global warming since the use of fossil fuels increases the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The CO2 emissions have increased, which has caused global warming, and the climate has begun to change. Typical examples of this phenomenon are as follows: the sea level temperature is rising. When the warming of the sea occurs, the amount of water vapor increases that much. Also, this means that as more rain clouds are created and lumped together in the North Pacific Ocean, high pressure due to these water vapors develop. When shower clouds gather in a straight line, it becomes torrential rain, and when combined in the storm formations known as doughnuts, it becomes a typhoon.
This summer on the Korean Peninsula showed the abnormal weather conditions such as a series of typhoons as well as unprecedented rains. Typhoons JANGMI, BAVI, MAYSAK and HAISHEN, all of which passed through the Korean Peninsula during the summer, were also one of the signs of a climate crisis. In the interview with Oh-my-news, Lee Woo-jin, the previous director of the Korea Meteorological Administration's forecast bureau, said that the climate crisis has caused the cracks in the accumulated climate norms because the atmosphere is becoming increasingly incomplete.
What is a Climate Emergency?
What is a Climate Emergency?
Many experts related to the climate energy are concerned about this abnormal climate, which they define as a 'Climate Emergency.' The British Oxford English Dictionary has selected climate emergency as the word of the year 2019. Oxford defined the word like this: a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environment damage resulting from it. According to an analysis of the data by Oxford to select the word of the year, the above chart proves that the number of times people used the term ‘Climate Emergency’ increased more than 100 times in 2019 compared to 2018. The selection of this word shows that climate change is such an urgent issue.
Like this, global warming problems occur around world. For example, the climate crisis has been revealed in various parts of the world, including Mexico where hail has poured over a meter in midsummer, California which suffers from forest fires every summer, and Indonesia which has decided to relocate its capital due to rising sea levels. Australia's unprecedented forest fires, which have killed or harmed three billion animals, are also blamed for the climate crisis.
A scientific explanation of the cause about abnormal climate
If all this is true, then why do these climate abnormalities found all over the world occur? Atmospheric scientist Cho Chun-ho scientifically explained the climate emergency situation in an interview with the Chamyeo·Yeondae (참여연대). He said normally climate is persistent and weather is constantly changing, but recently nature of climate persistence has also been changing. If the Earth's temperature rises by about 0.5 to 2 degrees more than it is now, there could be more serious situations than now, with hundreds of millions of people suffering from water shortages or sea levels soaring tens of meters higher, covering two-thirds of the world's major cities and stronger hurricanes hitting the coasts.
He explains this abnormal climate: over the past 100 years, humans have emitted fossil fuels and increased greenhouse gases, raising the temperature of the Earth by one degree. A single degree increase in the Earth's temperature will increase the evaporation of seawater and increase water vapor in the air by 7 percent. This has led to more rain and a higher possibility of flooding than before. Conversely, it explains that areas where air comes down have become much drier due to high pressure, increasing the possibility of drought and heat waves. If the temperature of the Earth passes a certain threshold it will be like crossing a river that can never be re-crossed.
Korea's Declaration of Carbon Neutrality In the Present Climate Emergency
According to statistics from the Global Carbon Project (GCP), Saudi Arabia ranks first in co2 emissions per capita with 18.1 tons, the United States second in 16.6 tons, Canada third in 15.3 tons, and South Korea fourth in 12.4 tons. In contrast to the economy ranks of Korea among the top 10 in the world, the co2 emissions has increased for the nation's growth. Like this, a country that has high co2 emissions but is irresponsible in responding to climate change is called a "climate villain." Korea is also described as a climate villain abroad, and the reason why Korea is called this is because most of the energy sources used in the country depend on fossil fuels. Therefore, Korea is also not free from the climate crisis.
Under these circumstances, Moon Jae-in, the president gave a speech that declared ‘2050 carbon neutrality vision’. This is to reduce greenhouse gases emitted in South Korea as much as possible, including the use of fossil fuels by 2050. In accordance with this vision of carbon neutrality, the government is determined to drastically reduce coal power plant and expand renewable energy to create an environment of green cities without alienation. "The climate crisis, like COVID-19, will make the most vulnerable and the most vulnerable class suffer first, and end up hurting the lives of all mankind." President Moon said in his speech. He appealed that "Just as we changed today at yesterday, we can change tomorrow depending on what we do today."
The CUF interviewed Park Min-ji (International Studies19), a CUK student and participating in the 'Polar Protection' project at Greenpeace to investigate the awareness of climate emergencies. Asked if she knew about the climate emergency, she replied, "I realized that the climate was changing significantly this year after seeing the relatively long heavy rainy season coming, but I didn't know that many countries actually declared the climate emergency." She said that she saw many people trying to participate in some of Greenpeace's environmental projects, but nevertheless she felt that there were still too many people who were not aware of the seriousness of the climate emergency.
In a contribution titled Warning of a Climate Emergency, 11,258 scientists from 153 countries declared a global climate emergency and warned that if the way humans live do not change, there will be a catastrophic disaster. Also, the scientists said, "The pace of climate change is much faster than expected and mankind now faces a climate emergency. If we do not permanently change the human activity itself, we will suffer an unprecedented amount of pain." in the international journal Bioscience. Like this, people should be very concerned about the environment and climate anomalies. The whole world has been aware of this problem, but they have turned a blind eye to it because they have not actually felt the seriousness of it. However, now, all mankind has to face this problem that we have turned away from and make aggressive efforts to overcome the climate emergency.