Notes from Asia

In International Review for Environmental Strategies (IRES) Volume 3 Number 1(Summer 2002)
Peer-reviewed Article

This section aims to introduce research developments in Asia. These well-written papers, published in languages other than English and therefore difficult for researchers from other countries to access, are selected and summarized by qualified experts. This issue introduces papers from Korea and Japan.

- Research developments in Korea
KIM, Bong-Koo, Yongsung CHO, and Jae Eun KWAK. 2001. "Estimation of WTP for Water Quality Improvements in Paldang Reservoir Using Contingent Valuation" (in Korean), Environmental and Resource Economics Review 10 (3):433-459. ISSN: 1229-3091.
Reviewed by Dr. Hoesung Lee, President, Council on Energy and Environment Korea (CEEK).

The Paldang reservoir is one of the most important water resources for the city of Seoul, providing water to more than 5.8 million households in the metropolitan area. However, in recent years, the water from the reservoir has become unsuitable for drinking due to development near the reservoir. The authors construct an econometric empirical model, using an actual interview survey of 565 samples to calculate the willingness to pay for improving the quality of the water supply. This study has the following unique characteristics. First, it covers one of most important issues of providing fresh water, the very basis for quality of life. Second, the contingent valuation method (CVM) used in this study is quite advanced in both econometric and environmental approaches, and frequently applied in environmental survey questionaires to estimate willingness to pay for improvement of the environment. Third, the study's major findings have practical policy implications: revealing the preference and willingness of people to pay for safe drinking water.

In this paper, the authors show that the water from the Paldang reservoir is now graded as third-class, based on chemical oxyegen demand (COD) criterion, meaning that it is no longer suitable for drinking. Using the CVM method, this study attempted to estimate the economic value of water quality improvement in the Paldang reservoir. The survey used a payment card format to measure the willingness-to-pay (WTP) of the questionnaire respondents for the improvement of water quality and factors that affect the WTP. The survey indicates that men rather than women, people with higher incomes, those who live in the Seoul area for a short period of time, and those who do not drink city water are willing to pay more for clean water. The WTP is estimated at between 4,952 and 5,497 won a month, on average. The economic value of the improvement of the water quality of the Paldang reservoir is estimated at 344.2 to 382.1 billion won annually.

- Research developments in Japan
As for research developments in Japan, six papers were recommended, based on the research themes of each of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) research projects (the Climate Policy Project, Forest Conservation Project, Urban Environmental Management Project, Environmental Education Project, Long-Term Perspective and Policy Integration Project, and the Business and the Environment Project).

KAWASHIMA, Yasuko. 2000. "Debates on Equity in Climate Change Negotiation" (Kikohendomondai eno torikuminimirareru koheisei no giron), Keikaku Gyosei (Planning Administration) 23 (4):22-26. ISSN: 0387-2513.
* Reviewed by the IGES Climate Policy Project.

Equity issues, although conceptually easy to define, confront difficulties when applied to actual political decisions such as those involved in global climate negotiations. This article, which appeared in a well-established Japanese journal aimed at administrative social policy, illustrates the barriers to be cleared before reaching consensus on the participation of developing countries in the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

The aim of this paper is to investigate the equity issue that underlies debates concerning the climate change problem. First, the paper reviews burden-sharing principles in conventional theories as well as in debates concerning climate change. Second, proposals from various countries on setting emission reduction targets submitted during negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol are summarized. Third, the emission reduction targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol are analyzed to investigate which burden-sharing system was adopted in the actual negotiations. The author argues that although much literature has suggested equity criteria for the distribution of burden to combat climate change, the agreement was based merely upon the current share of actual emissions. This was because the proposals of the various countries were contrary to one another, so that they could not agree to any rule apart from business-as-usual distribution. In the future, however, new negotiations are likely to change focus to include participation by developing countries. The current agreement, based on a business-as-usual emission pattern, will not be helpful in setting effective emissions targets in the future.

INABA, Rokuta, Keisuke HANAKI, Toshiya ARAMAKI, and Jun NAKATANI. 2001. "Integrated Assessment of Improvement of the Water Environment in Lake Suwa and Arising Impact on the Global Environment by Evaluating their Costs and Benefits" (Suwakomizukankyokaizenkoka to Taisaku nitomonau Chikyukankyo heno Eikyo no Hiyobenekikanzan niyoru Togotekihyoka), Kankyo Sisutemu Kenkyu (Environmental Systems Research) 29 (June):37-45. ISSN: 1345-9597.
* Reviewed by the IGES Urban Environmental Management Project.

The integrated environmental assessment technique is one of the environmental policy tools employed in the era of global environmental change. Such assessments are ideally required to provide scientific bases to evaluate trade-offs among multi-dimensional environmental impacts. However, due to the complex interaction within and between natural and social systems, and also due to the fact that these systems are composed of a multi-dimensional world, a practical demonstration of such evaluation is difficult. This study demonstrates an integrated environmental assessment method integrating three methodologies developed in different academic fields, namely, the contingent value method (CVM), life cycle assessment (LCA), and cost-benefit analysis, to compare the costs and benefits and regional and global environmental impacts of a water quality improvement project in Japan.

The paper aims to evaluate the multi-dimensional environmental impacts, on both the local and global environment, of a water quality improvement project in Lake Suwa, including sewer pipe network construction and sediment dredging. Based on the survey using the CVM, the annual willingness-to-pay of the citizens in the Suwa Lake basin was estimated at 728 million yen for the expected improvement of water environment quality of Nagano Prefecture. Similarly, the additional carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per annum of the project were estimated at 97 tonnes of carbon by the life cycle inventory analysis, which is one of the stages of LCA. The research also estimated that the social damage cost would be in the range of 1 to 23 million yen per year, based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assumptions. The paper demonstrated that the water quality improvement project in Lake Suwa does provide sufficient environmental benefits.

TAKEZAWA, Shinichi. 2001. "A Study on the Effectiveness of Teaching Materials Concerning Eco-Businesses in Environmental Education" (Kankyo bijiiness no kankyo kyouiku niokeru kyozaiteki yukosei no kento), Kankyou Kyouiku (Environmental Education) 10 (2):2-13. ISSN 0917-2866.
* Reviewed by the IGES Environmental Education Project.

There is a tendency for environmental education activities to only cover topics on environmental issues, but today environmental education is considered to be "education for a sustainable society," and it will soon become important for schoolteachers to integrate practical teaching materials into their lessons. This paper therefore indicates that learning about eco-business through debates is one feasible option for use in compulsory education in Japan.

The aim of this paper is to verify the effectiveness of teaching materials used in junior high schools concerning eco-businesses. It first describes measures on how to create teaching materials based on the experiences of schoolchildren. Second, lessons about eco-businesses consisting of debates among the children are organized. Third, the changes in awareness concerning eco-businesses among those who participated in the debates are analyzed.
During many of the debates, schoolchildren considered commodities from the position of both producers and consumers. In the process of their activities, students came to understand the concept of social cost and realize their own role in creating a sustainable society. In the author's view, internships with eco-businesses should offer effective environmental education activities.

SEKI, Yoshiki. 2001. "Constructing the Commons in a Logged-over Frontier Society: From the Views of Local People on the CBFM Program in the Philippines" (Bassai Frontia Shyakai Niokeru Commons No Kotiku-Firipin No CBMjigyo Wo Meguru Jyuminishiki Kenkyu Kara). Kankyo Syakaigaku Kenkyu (Journal of Environmental Society) 7:145-159. ISBN: 4-641-19954-X.
* Reviewed by the IGES Forest Conservation Project.

The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000 of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicated that although global deforestation continued in the 1990s, some forest management measures based on a participatory framework were launched in the same period to promote sustainable forest management. One of these major measures is a program of community-based forest management (CBFM) launched in Southeast Asian countries, such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. CBFM surely plays an important role in promoting sustainable forest management in these countries. This article examined CBFM in the Philippines and revealed the problems and solutions from the viewpoint of the commons.

The aim of this paper is to examine the possibility of constructing new commons through the CBFM program, based on the views of local people themselves in the Philippines. The methodology of this study centered on conducting an opinion poll through interviews with local people living in the forest areas. In the middle of the 1990s, CBFM was launched as a "national strategy to achieve sustainable forestry and social justice" by the Philippine government. In recent years CBFM has been strategically introduced in over-logged forests. This study was able to identify conflicts over land and resources which have been managed through CBFM. The fact that illegal loggers and migrants seeking new land are excluded as beneficiaries of CBFM has been the cause of many complaints on forest management by local people. It also clarified that the majority of local people agreed with the concept of communal management of forests. The main opinion of villagers is that the current CBFM program is not real communal management and that control is still retained by the government. Conflicts are caused by the government's aim to regulate the forest uses of marginalized people. This article pointed out that the "commons must serve the important function of giving top priority to inferiors in the community," and also that "illegal loggers and migrants seeking new land must be given agro-forestry farms as an alternative resource."

TSUCHIYA, Haruki. 2001. "IT Technology and Society in the 21st Century" (IT kakumei to 21 seiki shakai zo). Shou Enerugi (Energy Saving) 53 (1):19-22. ISSN: 03871819.

In recent years there has been growing interest in the likely impact on the environment of the so-called IT (information technology) revolution as it further develops. More and more forms of IT equipment are being used, which may result in increased energy consumption; but on the other hand, effective utilization of IT in many areas of society might enhance resource and energy efficiency. Little research has been done so far on the environmental implications of the IT revolution, and this paper is one of only a few outputs currently available.

In this short piece Dr. Haruki Tsuchiya, president of the Research Institute for Systems Technology in Japan, presents his strong belief that the IT revolution can bring about environmentally beneficial impacts. He maintains that it can promote energy saving and recycling by enabling the public to easily acquire resource and energy related information at low cost and by raising people's environmental awareness. He highlights statistics which indicate that the prevalence of e-mail use clearly decreases transportation demands, and his research results show that digital newspapers and books can achieve 40 to 220 times greater energy efficiency by reducing paper use. While mentioning possible environmentally harmful impacts such as an increase in stand-by power consumption of IT products, Dr. Tsuchiya claims that in the first half of the twenty-first century IT will become prevalent throughout society, enhance resource efficiency, and contribute to mitigating global warming.

WASHIDA, Toyoaki. 2001. "An Application of Environmental Valuation to Environmental Accounting: Methods and Case Studies" (Kankyokaikei no tame no kankyohyoka no houhou to jirei). In Kankyokaikei no riron to jissen (Theory and Practice of Environmental Accounting), edited by K. Kokubu, 37-53. Tokyo: Gyosei. ISBN4-324-0675-3.
* Reviewed by the IGES Business and the Environment Project.

Environmental economics and environmental accounting have developed separately; however, for more effective corporate decision-making, an interdisciplinary approach is needed. This paper intends to integrate a method of environmental valuation, which is a part of environmental economics, into environmental accounting by introducing the concept of environmental investment efficiency and showing examples of the monetary values of some products' environmental attributes.

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the applicability of environmental valuation methods for product assessment. The author argues that corporations have various motives for striving for environmental conservation, such as consciousness of social responsibility, respect for environmental regulations, and improvement of corporate image. On the other hand, however, evaluation of the efficiency of environmental investment should accompany profit analysis, because corporations are assumed to be profit-seeking entities. The author employs a method of conjoint analysis, one of the environmental valuation methods, and assesses the environmental attributes of such products as televisions, cars, personal computers, and homes. These analyses are accumulated and examined to measure the benefit side of environmental accounting. When both the cost and benefit sides of environmental accounting have been evaluated, the environmental investment of the corporation can be evaluated by environmental investment efficiency, which is the ratio of profits produced as a result of environmental investment compared to the amount invested. The paper points out that integration between environmental accounting and environmental valuation holds significant potential for corporate management.

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