Amb. Uden urges Korea to pass climate bill
Outgoing British Ambassador to Korea Martin Uden urged President Lee Myung-bak to pass emissions trading scheme legislation pending at the National Assembly during a farewell roundtable press briefing Tuesday.
“[President Lee Myung-bak] made the commitment to pass ETS legislation in a very bold way,” Uden said during the informal meeting with some reporters at his residence in Seoul.
“We believe our role is to share with Korea Britain’s experience in the legislative and implementation process,” he said. “In our view, the emissions trading scheme is the most effective way to achieve those reductions.”
“It can be achieved with an all-encompassing scheme like that,” he added.
Uden has extensive experience as a diplomat in Korea. In addition to serving as Britain’s chief diplomatic representative in Seoul since February 2008, his previous diplomatic postings in Korea were as the British Embassy's Second Secretary from 1978-1981 and as its Political Counselor from 1994-1997.
As he prepares to step down from his post later this month, Uden told reporters, “There are alternatives ― carbon tax or regulation, but the emissions trading scheme is relatively the most cost effective and painless way to achieve reduction goals.”
Uden said passing ETS legislation represents a chance for Korea to lead on the international stage, saying that not only will Korea be the only Asian country to pass ETS legislation, but it can lead on this issue as a nation that has become an important international player.
“If Korea passes ETS legislation now, it will show other countries that they do not have to wait for everyone else,” he said.
“They can do something now. We need Korea to pass it, so countries like Korea will feel they can do something now regardless of moves by other nations.”
Uden also said he will donate his extensive collection of mostly English-language books on Korea to London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies, adding he is a “Korea diplomat” and will undoubtedly continue work in enhancing the relationship between Korea and the United Kingdom.