Members of joint civic group of Korean and Japanese environmentalists welcome the Ramsar Convention’s decision to recognize the biodiversity of rice paddies at the Changwon Exhibition Convention Center, Tuesday.
By Bae Ji-sook
CHANGWON ― The Ramsar Convention has not been a merely ceremonial event but an environmental festival, in which participants contributed towards reducing climate change.
More than 15 million won ($12,700) was collected from more than 2,300 people to make the convention a carbon neutral one.
``Carbon neutrality'' is achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent offset. It is used to describe the practice of paying others to remove or requester 100 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted, such as by planting tress or funding that could lead to the prevention of future emissions.
Alongside using mugs, riding bicycles to the convention and other efforts, a 2008 Changwon Ramsar Carbon offset fund was created to help developing countries with clean development mechanism (CDM) and wetland protection projects.
Participants calculated the amount of carbon released due to their travel for the trip by establishing the amount of gas emitted.
Prices were fixed according to the World Bank's CDM price ― $13 per ton of carbon. Each participant, according to where and how he or she came from ― a round trip between Seoul and Changwon (743 kilometers) was set at around $2 while a flight from Switzerland (19,292 kilometers) would cost $37.7.
Three booths were installed to promote the necessity of the offset and participants received a certificate from Environment Minister Lee Maan-ee.
The event was modeled after the International Union for Conservation of Nature's 2004 Bangkok Congress case. It collected funds equivalent to offsetting 174,000 tons of carbon dioxide. The funds were used to help build a cogeneration plant in India.
``It is a good idea to make an environmentalists' meeting into a carbon offset one. I am happy to pay my lot,'' said an American civic group member who declined to named.