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Panel D: Governance for Climate Change (1)

Location: Rm. 3033

Jeehyun Lee, “South Korea’s Response to the Climate Crisis: Exploring Just Transition and Workplace Democracy”

Graduate Student, Duke University

Keywords: climate crisis, just transition

The climate crisis has now become one of the most crucial issues facing the world, and the concept of ‘Just Transition’ towards a carbon-neutral society has recently emerged as a global concept, actively discussed worldwide. Just transition signifies that the massive restructuring of industrial processes to address the climate crisis should not cause harm to specific regions or workers, and both the process and outcomes should be fair and just for everyone. In 2021, South Korea also explicitly outlines the principles advocated by the concept of ‘just transition’ in the ‘Framework Act on Carbon Neutrality,’ which aims to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

This paper examines how the globally emerging concept of Just Transition is currently understood and applied in South Korean society. Particularly from the perspective of workplace democracy, it analyzes the issues and limitations experienced by South Korea’s coal industry and workers in the context of a just transition. After a detailed analysis, it seeks alternative models by reviewing the ‘co-determination’ system evident in Germany’s just transition process. Through this examination, the paper reveals that workplace democracy acts as a limiting factor in South Korea’s efforts toward a just transition. Furthermore, it underscores that responses to climate change, such as carbon neutrality and energy transition, are not solely economic and industrial issues but are closely intertwined with the current democratic values in Korean society.

Qi Zhang, “Mechanism of Forest Policies influence on Land-Cover/Land-use in China”

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Environment, UNC-Chapel Hill

Keywords: rural outmigration, forest policies

China’s Conversion of Cropland to Forest Program (CCFP) and Ecological Welfare Forest Program (EWFP) strongly influence land-cover and land-use changes. The CCFP promotes rural out-migration, which is strongly associated with rural household cropland abandonment, providing additional ecological benefits than the CCFP intended for. However, the EWFP demotes people from outmigration as rural households can count on generous compensation from the government, which tends to stabilize cropland usage. Further, we found that remittance from outmigrants is strongly associated with forest greening and expansion in the areas surrounding the households due to reduced usage of fuelwood.
However, forests surrounding households with migration not receiving remittance are degrading. These findings are critical for sustainable rural development.