[Environment] Harnessing green growth and climate change
On August 15 last year, Korea marked the third anniversary of President Lee Myung-bak’s declaration of “low carbon green growth” as the country’s new strategy for sustainable economic growth and development.
The green growth policy efforts during those three years were focused on creating the institutional and policy framework for green growth through a process geared to Presidential Committee on Green Growth Conferences in Choeng Wa Dae attended by the president. The Long-term Green Growth Development Strategy (2009~2050), the Five-Year Plan for Green Growth (2009~2013), the National Medium-term Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Target (30 percent of BAU by 2020) and the Framework Act on Low Carbon Green Growth were launched.
And coordinated by the Presidential Committee, various policy measures addressed to the goals mandated by those policy directives such as the emission reduction, development and deployment of new and renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency enhancement, nurturing of green SMEs, greening of cities, transportation and industrial parks, greening of business management and lifestyles, realization of a resource-recycling society, reduction of food waste, and the enhancement of the adaptive capacity to climate change among others were taken by the relevant Ministries.
An overall review of the achievements during the first three years of green growth showed that the national green growth campaign had done a great deal in stimulating business investment in clean energy and environmental technologies and products. And “green growt” has become a common vocabulary in the Korean society.
In August last year, the Presidential Committee on Green Growth launched its Phase II agenda which is to undertake a critical review and evaluation of specific green growth policies already in implementation and to introduce supplementary measures to ensure their full effectiveness.
Accordingly, the Committee has been holding monthly “implementation review” meetings presided by the Prime Minister since September. This agenda will be carried into the New Year, geared to the goal of harvesting tangible outcomes which will form the foundation for self-sustaining green growth, under strategic focusing on specific priorities. Those priorities for the Presidential Committee’s work in 2012 include:
― Effective first-year implementation of the Green House Gas (GHG) emission target management system for 458 emitters in 2012, which constitutes a preparatory work for the launching of the emission trading system in 2015;
― Effective implementation and strengthening of the energy efficiency grade certification for public buildings, and strengthening the mandatory energy saving standards for architectural designs;
― Green transportation measures such as greater deployment of “rapid buses” for greater metropolitan areas, expansion of the application of the congestion charging system, developing a plan for inter-modal transfer centers, etc.,
― Nation-wide deployment and strengthening of food waste charges by volume;
― Strengthening green education at the primary and middle school levels by incorporating green contents in all school curricula;
― Effective launching of the “renewable portfolio standards (RPS),” under which 13 major power producers will be required to supply certain portions of their power supplies with renewable energies, beginning with 2 percent in 2012, toward the level of 10 percent by 2022.
The primary objective of the agenda on green growth and the environment for 2012 which runs through those priority work programs is to engage the citizens, businessmen, the civil society and local communities, rather than the government itself, as the leader of green living and management, in bottom-up processes to augment the thus-far government-led top-down processes toward green growth.
The Korean government has also emerged as a leading nation for advancement of green growth at the global level, and has launched a number of international initiatives to serve as a partner to the emerging and developing countries for green growth, including the launching of the East Asia Climate Partnership Initiative and the Global Green Growth Institute.
In 2012, Korea will continue to work with international organizations such as the OECD, World Bank, and UNEP in order to harness green growth for global cooperation on sustainable development and climate change actions through such venues as the Mexican G20 Summit, UN Rio+20 Summit and UNFCCC COP 18.
Soogil Young is the Chairman of Presidential Committee on Green Growth.