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Sunday, October 25, 2009

PROJECT GREEN ENERTOPIA


On February 12, 1992, Kiryun Choi, Director General of the New Energy Development Center of South Korea, and I signed an Agreement of Cooperation, pinpointing Cheju Island as the symbol of Green Enertopia for the country. This led to the Charter Assembly of the Green Enertopia International Forum on that island, immediately following the September 1997 World Congress of the International Solar Energy Society in Taejon. Participating in the Cheju gathering were the president of ISES, David Mills, and former director of Western Sun and at that time representing the Union of Concerned Scientists, Donald Aitken. Of course, Dr. Choi was there, for he funded the program. All this is reported in Chapter 2 on SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth, entitled Green Enertopia.


But a “terrible” thing happened in 1998. Chapter 1 of the book provides a table (using 2005 dollars), showing that in 1972, the price of oil was $18.76 (actually $2.85, for it is amazing how inflation changes the real value of money over time)/barrel. In 1980, after the second energy crisis, oil jumped to $89.48/barrel, but in 1998, crude oil crashed to $14.38/barrel, cheaper than what it was BEFORE the first energy crisis. All renewable energy projects were effectively cancelled, and Project Green Enertopia went into dormancy.


Well, twelve years later, Kiryun is now a professor of energy economics at Ajou University, and he has been asked by his government, while leading a science academy group to develop a national/international initiative, linking sustainable resources to the concept of global warming. Clearly, Project Green Enertopia is ideally suited to serve as the foundation from which a global program can be established, with Cheju Island as the headquarters.


Professor Choi is now visiting Hawaii, and on Friday, we had lunch with Milton Staackmann of the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, who served as Secretariat for the original Green Enertopia International Forum. Today, I took Kiryun around the island of Oahu, which, as the photos show, was as beautiful as ever. Here we see him with Rabbit Island in the background, then posing with that obligatory shave ice at Matsumoto's. Finally, we had a memorable dinner at La Mer.









-Tropical Storm Lupit is steaming away from the Philippines and will skirt the eastern side of Japan, bringing, at most, some waves, while Tropical Storm Neki has left Hawaii. Even that disturbance in the Atlantic weakened. All is well on the storm front around the world.

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We now have 115 countries in our membership. The latest two countries to visit this site are:


CAMBODIA POPULATION: 14,241,640

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Background
Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire, ushering in a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection in 1863 and it became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953. In April 1975, after a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Some of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders are awaiting trial by a UN-sponsored tribunal for crimes against humanity. Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King Norodom SIHANOUK abdicated the throne and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. Local elections were held in Cambodia in April 2007, and there was little in the way of pre-election violence that preceded prior elections. National elections in July 2008 were relatively peaceful.

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and


HONDURAS POPULATION: 7,639,327

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Background
Once part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Marxist Nicaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces fighting leftist guerrillas. The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage.

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I will be visiting Cambodia in January. As an interesting afterthought, Professor Choi indicated that he is joining a group of colleagues in December on a trip to Myanmar (former Burma) to explore prospects for retiring there. A mansion can be purchased for $5,000 and one can easily survive on $1/day. Plus, the military keeps the place safe. Interestingly enough, they speak English in that country, because of early British influence. Of course, we all sympathize about the peaceful resistance of Aung San Suu Kyi, and decry the methods of the current leaders, but this is an example of how different cultures view the reality of life.


This brings the tally of site visitors to:

7093-115-305

In case your were wondering what these numbers mean, in my weekend blog, I summarize the total e-mail addresses visiting this site, the number of different countries and new visitors to this site this past week.

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3 comments:

Hawaii Technology said...

Aloha, Pat:

I'm glad to see that the idea of the Green Enertopia International Forum lives on. Can you include in your blog a periodic listing of the current work going on at each of the island-nations of Green Enertopia? It would help greatly for your readers to be updated on the Green Enertopia work going on around the world. It might even inspire your readers as a nice itinerary for a world trip visiting these "points of light" and create a Live Aid type of event through world-ecotrip conferencing.

Leighton Chong

Patrick Kenji Takahashi said...

Good idea, Leighton. That, indeed, would make for a terrific around the world trip. If you'll recall from my book, more than a decade ago, meetings were held on islands like the Hawaii, Cheju, Miyakojima and Cyprus, plus countries like the Philippines and Indonesia. The timing is right for these symbols of energy self-sufficiency, where the total system is considered with carbon dioxide remediation.

Madeleine said...

Pat,

Thanks for your helpful link in the right column section, "Yes, the earth is warming!" I recommend "Climate Cover-Up: A (Brief) Review" (10-20-09): http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/climate-cover-up-a-brief-review/

Madeleine Austin