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Industry reports, briefs issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

Coping with Climate Change: Green Living

Coping with Climate Change: Green Living

KANG Hee-Chan

Aug. 23, 2010

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This summer, electricity usage has risen to the point where Korea needs to worry about power outages due to a supply shortage. On July 22, 2010, electricity usage soared to 6,7340,000KW, the second highest ever, lowering the nation's reserve rate of electricity to 8.4% (optimal rate is 15%). Electricity supply normalized from late July to early August, the peak vacation period when many people are traveling. But the extraordinary demand will likely reappear when the holiday season ends the third week of August. All in all, Korea's energy usage is expected to grow 7% in 2010, which suggests electricity shortages will eventually occur if demand is not controlled.

Energy overconsumption is prevalent in Korea, which must import nearly all of its energy supply. In 2008, the nation's electricity usage per one dollar's worth of gross domestic product (GDP) reached 0.580 kilowatt hours (kWh), which was 1.7 times the average 0.339KWh of the Organization for Economic and Cooperation Development (OECD) countries and 2.8 times the average 0.206KWh of Japan. The 2009 global recession slashed the average electricity usage of OECD countries by 5.0% compared to 2008 but Korea's power consumption increased 0.1%.

Today, green lifestyle is no longer an option. It is a solution to an imbalance in energy demand and supply as well as an effective response to climate change. Thus, it is imperative to instill a stronger sense of green value in the public's mind and to encourage green consumption behavior in all aspects of daily life. Furthermore, green living is a catalyst to further advances in green technology and green industry, helping form a virtuous cycle of low carbon green growth. That is, green lifestyle will bolster sales of environment-friendly products, which will encourage companies to develop and produce green products, boosting green industry development.


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