+ BACKGROUND, CHALLENGES AND OBJECTIVES
Under the vision of "Creating Suwon as a Carbon-Neutral Special City", Suwon City has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.21 million tons, which corresponds to 40% of the 2018 emission level of 5.525 million tons, by 2030. Particularly emphasizing the active participation of citizens as the essential drivers for greenhouse gas reduction, Suwon City aims to achieve carbon neutrality.
To realize carbon neutrality through citizens' active involvement, the city is developing practical measures to reduce carbon emissions in their daily lives. They also seek to enhance public awareness and understanding of the issue, encouraging behavioral changes among citizens. Moreover, the city aims to provide opportunities for direct participation and engagement in carbon reduction activities.
+ ACTIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION
Suwon City's citizen participation efforts for carbon neutrality are primarily composed of three initiatives: the "Carbon Monitoring in Our Homes" project, carbon-neutral education for citizens, and the establishment of a "Carbon-Neutral Citizens Committee.“
The "Carbon Monitoring in Our Homes" project is a pilot program driven by the premise that approximately 28% of Suwon City's greenhouse gas emissions come from households. Recognizing the essential role of citizen involvement in carbon neutrality efforts, the project was launched in February 2022, in collaboration with three residential complexes, targeting 1,999 households. Suwon City established a monitoring server and integrated it with the apartment energy management system and an app, allowing residents to directly access real-time energy consumption data, compare usage with other households, and predict their expected carbon emissions.
Furthermore, Suwon City has formulated the "Eco-Citizen Education Plan" to promote active carbon-neutral education programs targeting adults. Starting in 2023 until 2027, the city aims to provide carbon-neutral education to 400,000 adults, which accounts for 40% of the total population of Suwon citizens. The goal is to integrate carbon neutrality practices into the everyday lives of citizens. To achieve this objective, the city is enhancing the activation of carbon-neutral education through tailored and simplified programs, expanding educational opportunities. They are also training a group of carbon-neutral education instructors to provide professional guidance to the citizens. Additionally, they are developing specific carbon-neutral education programs tailored to different target groups and situations for effective implementation during lectures. These education programs are being compiled into manuals for distribution to relevant departments for further utilization. Furthermore, to foster a culture of carbon-neutral practices, Suwon City is organizing various events, such as the "Carbon-Neutral Practice Activity Certification Challenge," to encourage citizen participation and create an atmosphere of carbon neutrality in the local community. These efforts aim to enhance awareness and action towards carbon neutrality among the citizens of Suwon.
Lastly, Suwon City has established and operates a Citizen Committee to incorporate the voices of its citizens into the carbon-neutral policy. The committee plays a pivotal role in fostering a culture of carbon neutrality by facilitating communication with citizens and gathering their opinions. It was initiated through the "Suwon City 2050 Carbon-Neutral Citizens Forum," where citizens who attended took on a leading role in adding their strength to the carbon-neutral policy and spreading the culture of carbon neutrality.
The Carbon-Neutral Citizen Committee actively participates in the deliberation process and formulation of carbon-neutral plans and policies, while also sharing updates on the progress of these initiatives. Additionally, the committee is expected to drive projects such as citizen-led proposals, promoting and publicizing the culture of carbon neutrality, and cooperating in conducting surveys.
+ OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS
The results from the "Carbon Monitoring in Our Homes" project for one month in March 2022 showed an average reduction of approximately 10% in electricity consumption compared to the same period in the previous year for all three residential complexes. This resulted in a total reduction of around 60,000 kWh of electricity consumption across the three complexes, estimated to have saved a total of 25 tons of carbon emissions. The real-time monitoring of energy consumption led to significant energy savings, reflecting the effectiveness of the initiative. Based on these positive outcomes, Suwon City plans to conduct a more detailed analysis of the achievements from the project. Suwon tries to expand the project to include other residential complexes, allowing them to participate. By 2025, the city aims to have 20% of all apartments in Suwon (approximately 60,000 households out of a total of 279,614 households) taking part in the project. To encourage active citizen participation, Suwon City plans to introduce additional features to enhance the convenience and effectiveness of the app used in the residents' community. These improvements will help residents gain awareness about their own carbon emissions and voluntarily engage in energy-saving practices.
Regarding the “Eco-Citizen Education Plan", Suwon City plans to conduct carbon-neutral education tailored to specific occupational and social affiliations, targeting a total of approximately 6,000 individuals in 2023 (and 100,800 individuals over five years until 2027). This education will be aimed at public officials, cooperative members, civic organizations, teachers, and merchants, considering their respective roles in society. In addition to this targeted approach, Suwon City will implement simplified education programs in the form of "Quick Education" sessions, each lasting about 10 minutes, before the start of regular educational programs. The goal is to reach a total of around 27,281 individuals in 2023 (and 186,180 individuals over five years until 2027) through this concise and accessible form of education.
The Carbon-Neutral Citizen Committee aims to strengthen communication with citizens, forming consensus and formulating policies that are perceptible and impactful. By actively seeking input from residents, who are the key actors in implementing carbon-neutral initiatives, the committee expects to identify and promote effective practical projects. Initially targeting 125 members for recruitment, the committee received an overwhelming response with 43 participants in the forum and 99 applicants through public recruitment, exceeding the original goal. This enthusiastic participation demonstrates the public's interest in and determination for carbon neutrality. The committee's activities are categorized into online and offline efforts. Through the online platform, they conduct opinion gathering and policy promotion. Offline activities include holding public hearings, organizing educational events, and engaging in activities like "plogging" (picking up litter while jogging) to provide citizens with direct opportunities to participate and get involved. By offering diverse engagement avenues, the committee is poised to play a significant role in mobilizing active citizen involvement.
+ REPLICABILITY AND SCALABILITY
The Carbon Monitoring in Our Homes project, carbon-neutral education for citizens, and the formation of the Carbon-Neutral Citizen Committee are policies aimed at enhancing citizens' awareness of carbon neutrality and creating practical measures to reduce carbon emissions in their daily lives. These initiatives do not require significant budgets.
Therefore, if other organizations or cities have the determination and willingness to improve citizens' consciousness regarding carbon neutrality, they can replicate and expand similar efforts at any time.
+ BUDGET AMOUNT
- Our Home Carbon Monitoring Project: 2 million won per year
- Global-minded Suwon Citizen Education: 160 million won as of 2023
- Carbon Neutrality Citizen Committee: 5 million won