By Na Jeong-ju
President Lee Myung-bak pledged Tuesday to play a bridging role between developed and emerging economies to help them narrow differences regarding how to cut greenhouse gases and address global warming.
Lee made the pledge during a telephone conversation with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is in Copenhagen, Denmark, to attend the ongoing U.N. Climate Summit, which is scheduled to end Friday.
Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, told Lee that the international community has high expectations for Korea to take on a bigger role to set up the future course of action in fighting climate change.
He also said the world was paying keen attention to Korea's Green New Deal programs, initiated early this year to brace for the global shift toward a green economy, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
"I'm ready to tackle global issues such as climate change not by words, but by actions. The world can address climate change only by taking action," Lee was quoted as telling Ban.
Lee said he was happy that Korea had set an example for developing countries by suggesting a carbon reduction goal.
On Nov. 17, the administration announced a bold plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 4 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, making Korea the first emerging nation to set up the reduction goal. The figure represents a 30-percent decrease from the level predicted for 2020.
China and India followed suit in the following weeks to set up their own carbon reduction goals.
"I hope our green growth vision will become a beacon for other countries in participating in the global fight against climate change. Borders don't matter when it comes to protecting the Earth," Lee said.
World leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, are expected to arrive in Copenhagen later this week to help seal an international agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions and subsidize efforts by developing countries to adopt low-carbon energy technologies.
President Lee will also fly to the Danish capital Thursday to participate in the discussion.
Lee plans to deliver a keynote speech at the meeting, in which he is expected to propose global partnership programs to fight climate change.