Things That Fade In, Fade Out
By Kim Jong-chan
Rising temperatures are affecting the nation's farming. Korea has recently launched a study on annual double crop rice farming. Two months earlier than usual, farmers planted rice seedlings in Iksan, in the southwestern Jeolla region.
Harvest is slated around July 20, with the second round of planting scheduled for late July. The farmers planted seedlings of Dunnaebyeo, an early maturing rice variety with cold tolerance and high-yield potential.
The warming soil is expected to transform Korea, a temperature region, to a subtropical zone in a decade. For the past 100 years, temperatures in the country have risen by 1.5 degrees Celsius, double the global average of 0.74 degrees. Rainfall has swollen by 280mm to 1,300mm a year. Higher temperatures and more rainfall are prerequisites to the inception of two-crop farming to replace current single harvests.
Researchers agree that climate change will enable farmers in the southern part of the country to yield rice, Korea's staple grain, twice a year within five years.
Once two-crop farming is realized, farmers will see their income increase. Holding one more round of planting will also help reduce carbon dioxide, blamed for the rise in temperatures.
But it's ironic that rising temperatures could bring two-crop farming, and such double-crop plantations help reduce carbon dioxide.
As part of programs to reduce carbon dioxide, Korea is considering introducing an eco tax to be levied on businesses according to the amount of the chemical compound they emit.
Revenues to be collected under the contemplated scheme would be used not only to develop new technologies and renewable energies but also lower corporate tax.
Global warming is also affecting the quantity of agricultural products. The cultivation of apples, a typical temperature-zone fruit, is decreasing, whereas the planting of tangerines, subtropical fruit, is increasing.
Furthermore, rising temperatures have hit the forestry sector. Many local administrations are holding annual tree-planting events before the traditional Arbor Day, which falls on April 5.
People in Jeju Island actually plant trees in mid-February. Those in the mountainous Gangwon area plant trees a week before Arbor Day, particularly painted maple and other broad-leaved trees that can absorb more carbon dioxide than thin-leaved trees, such as pine trees, which grow in cooler areas.
Marine products are no exception. Fishing boats return to Jeju Island with abundant tuna, many of them bigger than those caught previously. Tuna and mackerel in the South Pacific are also moving northward.
Alaska Pollack, ``myeongtae'' in Korean, previously caught in the East Sea, disappeared a decade ago, whereas a kind of sandfish, ``dorumuk,'' faces extinction.
More changes ― whether they will benefit us or not ― are expected, as the National Statistical Office predicts that temperatures in the country will rise by an additional 1.2 degrees by 2020, much faster than the increase of 1.5 degrees in the last 100 years.
A new map regrouping agricultural and marine products is needed.
The amount of carbon dioxide the average Korean yields is double the global average. Saving electricity by means such as switching off lights at work and at home and riding bicycles instead of using cars will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which have warmed the planet. Planting trees, particularly broad-leaved, will end excessive levels of carbon dioxide, thus cooling the street one hits in the morning.