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"Our addiction to oil is the major cause of global warming."
Joongang Daily, one of the major newspapers in Korea, interviewed Professor John Spengler from Harvard University, an internationally renowned scholar in environmental science, who visited Korea for a conference. He mentioned KAIST’s online electric vehicle (OLEV) during the course of interview. The paper interviewed him on a wide range of environmental issues, and below is a translation of the original Korean article. For the Korean article, please download the attached picture file. “Our addiction to oil is the major cause of global warming.” Interview with Professor John Spengler from Harvard University—he is an internationally renowned scholar in environmental science. By Chan-Soo Kang, Joongang Daily September 3, 2010 “The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by British Petroleum (BP), a multinational oil company, took place against the backdrop of our addition to oil,” said Professor John Spengler (66 years old) from Harvard University on September 2. “The fact that we are addicted to oil means we are obsessed with mobility as well. Throughout the history of mankind, there has never been the time when we move from one place to another as frequently as today and are dependent on fossil fuels as much as today.” Visiting Korea to attend a conference co-sponsored by International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) and International Society of Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) that was held at Coex in Seoul from August 28 to September 2, he gave his speech at plenary talks of the conference on the a topic titled, “Our health is our planet.” Professor Spengler is an internationally well-known expert in the research of indoor air pollution and environmental exposures of chemical compounds. At the conference, he mostly talked about an ecological catastrophe resulted from the explosion of an oil rig operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. He pointed out, “It’s been a problem that oil companies are more willing to take risks of exploring dangerous places to obtain oil as the demand for oil has increased. Excessive oil consumption cannot help but lead to global warming.” “Particularly,” he said, “the unusual climate events, frequently happening in recent years, including severe heat wave and drought in Russia this summer, are somewhat expected to occur by weather forecast models. However, it seems that the extreme weather patterns are taking place more frequently, and accordingly, we are facing more severe effects of weather conditions.” Professor Spengler emphasized that “We should change our diet and lifestyle to reduce the stress put on our ecosystem, such as getting protein from vegetables rather than from fish or meat and having a habit of curtailing energy consumption.” “While I’m here, I have a chance to see an online electric vehicle (OLEV) developed by KAIST. If this technology is applied, we can reduce environmental problems as such,” he assessed the development of OLEV. He also said that “the State of Utah in the US has expressed its intention to adopt the OLEV technology.” With regard to his research focus on indoor air pollution, Professor Spengler said, “We are having problems like “New House Syndrome” because we try to build a house with cheap materials. Governments should set a standard and control pollutants released from building materials in order to reduce risks resulted from indoor air pollution.” He argued, “In the early 1990s, when the Irish government introduced an enhanced regulation of air pollution in Dublin, the mortality rate of the city in that winter dropped dramatically.” “It’s been proven that as fine particle pollution gets worse, more patients with cardiovascular diseases die. Therefore, we need to make efforts to reduce the air pollution.” “Compared with other nations,” Professor Spengler estimated Korea as a nation that “definitely improved its air quality by introducing buses with a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) engine to its public transportation system.” (End)
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