(You can find the Korean version of this article here.)
Good afternoon everyone.
Last year, when we held the first Seoul Climate-Energy conference, we came up with “10 things to do” for the success of UN Climate Summit. Those recommendations were delivered to Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. And Secretary General Ban also came up with 5 Chair’s Sum-up after the summit.
As you see in the slide above, we share many things in common.
Facing the biggest challenge of our history, we cannot afford to waste our time in combating climate change.
We should do our best to cut emissions in every level and every aspect.
We should embrace changes already happened in much more resilient ways. However, as we discussed today, we can transform this challenge into a new opportunity: opportunity for sustainable growth and a planet-responsible civilization.
To realize this, we must connect the dots of like-minded around the world and mobilize new coalition for expansion. That is why we gathered here today, I believe.
Now, let me briefly share with you what Korea has been doing since its proclamation of low-carbon green growth national vision in 2008.
In 2009, Korea voluntarily set up mid-term emission reduction target for 2020 and enacted legislation, such as Basic Act for Green Growth and Emission Trading Scheme.
And in 2011, the growth rate of emission began to fall below that of economic growth, and last year it fell below the net-zero line for the first time in Korean industrial history. The growth rate of emission decreased by 0.6% while the economy grew by 3.3%. There are various factors for this phenomenon and it is yet to tell that Korea has reached its emission peak. Nevertheless, such ‘decoupling’ trajectory shows the potential that we can go green while we make growth.
Korea is also leading in several green industries.
As for renewable energy, Hanhwa Q Cells has become the world’s largest PV company in cell and module. As for batteries for EV and ESS, LG Chemical and Samsung SDI are leading the global market with almost 35% market share. Thanks to the world class ICT, smart grid or energy internet system has rapidly reached to an advanced level during short period of time. There are also success stories of small and medium sized companies. For example, Seoul semi – conductor, a tech-driven start-up, has become the world top 4 LED chip maker.
Yes, green growth can work.
However, I admit that there are also shortfalls, and we still have a long way to go. For example, the governance structure for green growth has been weakened to some degree. The Presidential Committee for Green Growth was downgraded to Prime Minister’s Office level, which caused a major control tower problem. But I believe our green journey can still continue forward even if it is sometimes called with a different name. And as you see now, bottom-up efforts are being actively made to fill the gap.
Well, let us go back to our conference.
As an outcome, today we come up with 5 recommendations for the successful march of Paris meeting, the COP 21.
We look forward to receiving more feedback from you. As we did last year, the key messages will be delivered to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and UN Secretariat.
No 1. National Leaders must come up with climate agenda and pledge.
We urge once again that each nation strengthen its governance structure to the highest level to address climate challenges as well as opportunities including its INDC implementation.
And to secure policy commitments and enhance public engagement. We recommend national leaders who wish to run for presidency or head of state to come up with climate-related pledges during election campaign and get evaluation from the public.
In this regard, I highly welcome that US presidential candidates are now coming up with climate agenda and pledges.
I hope this could become the “New Normal” in political campaign.
No 2. Respect the role of UN and encourage cooperation among climate regimes
While INDC is going to be “default” of the new climate regime, the role of UN must still be respected in terms of “Pax Univeralitas”. It is important to enhance the degree of ambition and coordinate individual national interests to produce a better and collective interest. Along with this, cooperation among climate related regimes should be encouraged.
GGKP might be an example. Regional cooperation can be facilitated by IOs also.
For example, in Asia, ADB has been operating since 1966 backed by Japan, and this year AIIB was launched by China. In Korea, there are two IOs already in operation since 2012, GGGI and GCF.
If these 4 regimes work together, especially on tackling climate change and building green infrastructure such as low-emission energy system, we can create huge opportunities for sustainable development in Asia.
No 3. Set-up Carbon Pricing and Climate Finance, and trigger Green Big Bang
In order for climate change to be a real opportunity for green industry and job creation, I believe we need to send a strong signal to the market. And that is carbon pricing.
Another critical thing to do is to secure climate financing as agreed by the COP, 100 billion US $ annually from 2020.
If these two are kept, it will not only help developing countries to cope with climate change, but it will also trigger green industrial revolution, or green big bang, on a global scale.
No 4. Boom-up Local Government activities with Private-Public Partnership
If nation states and international regimes are making plans and policies for green transformation, then it is local governmental level where implementing actions actually take place.
In this sense, we welcome several thousands of “total commitment to action” from local governments that have already been registered at the Paris meeting.
ICLEI’s activities to achieve sustainability for local governments, and the activities by C40 Cities are also good examples.
We especially need to boom up local government activities with private-public partnership. Private companies are also a key part of where the actions take place. In this regard, the case of Eco Platform in Jeju, a partnership between Jeju island, LG and KEPCO to realize carbon-free island, can serve as an admirable example.
No 5. Strengthen communication platform and epistemic community (to enhance public awareness).
We, humankind, have always excelled at identifying problems and solutions in order to survive.
So as to survive once again, this time, we need to strengthen our communication platform and epistemic community.
That is why we, coalition of our common future, are launching ‘The Climate Times’ which is a communication platform for sharing ideas and insights together to combat climate change. There is no business model to this media, except for your participation. With your active participation, however, I strongly believe that it will contribute to enhancing public awareness and evolve into a strong epistemic community for our sustainable future.
(Along with the same context, We also welcome your ideas, suggestions, or any other input to the 5 recommendations above as comments on this post or to email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our plan is to integrate your input into the finalized version and to bring it to Paris, UN and Ban Ki-moon.)
When we have strategy, finance, technology, people, social activity, and communication platform together in an inter-operable fashion, we can change the world.
I call this Green Cube architecture.
Two hundred years ago, in 1815, there held historic meeting, the Congress of Vienna, which became the origin of modern diplomacy. However, Congress of Vienna was known for procrastinating its discussions and outcomes, which brought birth to the famous saying “Le Congres danse beacoup, mail il ne march pas.” In English, “The Congress dances much, but it does not march or progress.”
My aspiration is that the upcoming Paris Meeting would give birth to a new saying,
“Le congrès march beaucoup”
(“The conference really marched for success and saved human kind.”)
Thank you, Merci beaucoup. 감사합니다.