We can learn from South Korea. Their excellent education system prompted Alabama officials to travel last fall on a teacher recruiting mission. (Ironic that state Sen. Tim Melson, who made the trip, has diverted critical funds for our schools to his ag event center pet project.)
South Korea this year tackled COVID-19 through one of the largest and best-organized epidemic control programs in the world. The key was rapid availability of testing (free under its health care system) and high-tech tracking that kept deaths to a few hundred.
Last month, voters re-elected President Moon’s party in a landslide. He is now tackling another deadly global crisis — climate change. The world’s seventh-largest source of planet-heating carbon dioxide is on course to become the first east Asian country to produce nearly 20% of its energy needs from renewables by 2030, and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
South Korea is the biggest emitter yet to endorse the kind of industrial planning and social safety net expansion rarely seen outside of wartime. The new climate measures in South Korea might help reverse the increasing use of coal in Asia that threatens to propel global warming beyond the point of no return.
The plan is to end public financing of domestic and overseas coal projects, retrain workers for green jobs, make large-scale investments in wind and solar energy, undertake research, and consider a carbon tax (perhaps modeling the fee and dividend legislation being considered by our Congress).