June - Republic of Korea: Investing in Green Growth

Republic of Korea, June 2015 - The Republic of Korea  is a global leader in the field of green economy. As early as 2009, Korea has taken green growth into account for long term planning, with the adoption of the National Strategy for Green Growth (2009-2050). The strategy aims to promote eco-friendly new growth engines, enhance peoples’ quality of life, and contribute to international efforts to fight climate change.  The strategy is supported by a Presidential Commission on Green Growth, established in 2009, and a Framework Act on Low Carbon Green Growth enacted in 2010.

Recently, Korea has continued its commitment to supporting a green economic transition both domestically and abroad and continues to be a great example for other developed and developing countries around the world.

At home, the Government of Korea approved a plan in April,  to invest over US$ 1.67 billion in the renewable energy sector in 2015 alone. This investment aims to develop, among others, bioenergy, fuel cell and carbon capture sequestration technology in order to achieve the target of reducing CO2 emissions to 30% below projected business as usual levels by 2020. The government also intends to build 575 fast chargers for electric vehicles in order to grow the number of electric cars on the road from 3,000 to 47,000 by 2017. It is expected that the growth in South Korea’s clean energy sector will create 14,000 new jobs by 2017. Notably, Korea also created the world’s second largest carbon trading market at the start of 2015 with implementation of  their national cap-and trade system.

At the international level, the government announced a scale-up of contributions to the Partnership for Action on Green Economy  (PAGE) at an event in Bangkok on May 20, 2015. At the event, His Excellency Mr. Jeong Yeon-Man, Vice Minister of Environment said, “The Republic of Korea will continue its support to the international community around green economy and green growth, and will continue to work with UNEP through various collaborations, such as PAGE.”

South Korea is also home to the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), and the Green Climate Fund(GCF). GGGI originated as  a Korean NGO in 2010 and has since grown to become an international organization supporting the practice and theory of green growth in emerging nations.  The GCF is an international fund to provide financing for achieving national climate change targets. Songdo was selected as a fitting host city for the GCF as it has been entirely designed as a ‘smart city’ and the only city in the world where all buildings will meet LEED certification.