|Vol. 17, No. 23||March 13, 1998|
The meshing of public policy with environmental integrity is the cornerstone of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy's (CEEP) newest project.
CEEP was awarded $100,000 from the W. Alton Jones Foundation as the first installment of a three-year, $680,000 project to help establish the Joint Institute for a Sustainable Energy and Environmental Future (JISEEF) in Seoul, South Korea.
The institute will focus on educating the public and energy and environmental leaders about the benefits of relying on energy conservation, renewables and recycling to meet the country's economic goals. CEEP will work with Seoul National University's Graduate School of Environmental Studies, the Citizens' Institute for Environmental Studies of the Korea Federation of Environmental Movements and the Kyungbuk National University's Research Institute for Energy, Environment and Economy.
South Korea's economy has been one of the fastest growing in Asia, relying heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear power. Its use of polluting energy fuels has been so intense, that it's now the 10th largest CO2 emitter in the world. What is even more compelling is that South Korea's success has become an example to other developing nations. In the foundation grant proposal, CEEP director John Byrne pointed out that South and North Korea are working together on a nuclear power plant that would supply both nations with electricity, further locking both into the long-term use of a potentially hazardous energy source.
For all of these reasons, Byrne wrote in the proposal, "This is a crucial time to reevaluate South Korea's current energy and environmental policy and undertake a strong campaign for a sustainable future for Korea."
One of the foundation's goals is the improvement of public policies that affect the global environment. The foundation became aware of CEEP in Kyoto, Japan during the United Nations conference on global warming when CEEP acted as a public policy adviser to nongovernmental organizations attending the conference.
"Foundation officials followed our work and contacted the center with a request that we submit a proposal," Byrne said. "The Korea institute is only the beginning. The Jones Foundation would like to see us spread our policy approach to other developing Asian nations," he said.
JISEEF will serve as a catalyst for energy and environmental policy reform and will provide the information researchers need for developing renewable energy resources, conservation and recycling systems.
A central part of the institute's activities will be to educate the public, bringing citizens into the decision making process and giving them practical alternatives.
The institute also will establish a forum through which Korea's experts and leaders in the energy and environmental fields can work with CEEP's international research team to create an organization geared to promoting sustainable development, Byrne said.