Climate Change Great Challenge for Human Race
President Lee calls for united fight against global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions; UNEP praises Korea¡¯s strategy for low-carbon, green growth
President Lee Myung-bak, in his keynote speech at a ceremony for the 40th Earth Day as well as the opening of the B4E meeting, said we should appreciate the efforts of those who worked hard to deepen our understanding of the only earth we have in the universe.
We can say that the earth is a house where many living things live together and also the tool that contains our happiness, the Chief Executive said during the ceremony held April 21 at COEX in southern Seoul.
¡°But we ought to realize that the earth has been ill,¡± he said.
For all of recorded history, the earth has been suffering from many risk factors such as war and hunger.
But climate change is the biggest challenge that the human race has ever faced since the beginning of the world. Climate change has been raising the sea water levels and the Maldives is the good example of the danger that threatens the existence of the world, the president said.
Korea was the first country to set up laws on low-carbon, green growth in the world, geared to building a base for comprehensive systems to cope with climate change, change the style of living and business management, among others. The laws have been able to help reduce the uncertainty that induces reluctance for change so that major businesses could participate in green growth businesses, the president said.
¡°The laws also speeded up the construction of nuclear power plants and new recycled-energy businesses to spur the green growth industry,¡± he said.
¡°In order to speed up green growth, I think the world needs a pan-global partnership,¡± he said, ¡°as nothing in the world can escape from the environmental crisis and therefore, the world needs a joint effort to look for solutions and it is our duty to do so.¡±
As part of Korea¡¯s role in the international joint effort, Lee proposed the establishment of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) at a meeting of member countries in Copenhagen in December last year.
¡°If the IPCC, a climate change panel, had made a great contribution to finding out causes for global warming, the GGGI, set to be launched in June, will be an international asset in coming up with a detailed plan to fight the challenge of climate change in the future,¡± the president claimed.
¡°We just can¡¯t think of earth with no humans and at the same time, no humans on earth,¡± Lee said. He said an agreement was reached at the 3rd B4E for the need for a new organization to deal with climate change. ¡°We have to set up a planet-responsible system to take care of earth as well as humans. We have to get away from the fossil-fuel dependent civilization and replace it with a green co-existent culture for the sake of peace and prosperity,¡± he said.
The president said he hoped that the 40th Earth Day this year would be an occasion to realize once again the value of earth and how serious the climate change crisis is. ¡°Our efforts for a beautiful and prosperous world will open the way for a proud and austere world not only for the current generation, but also for future generations to come,¡± Lee said.
In the meantime, Sec. Gen. Achim Steiner of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) issued the ¡°Overview of the Republic of Korea¡¯s National Strategy for Green Growth¡± and delivered it to Minister Lee Manee of the Ministry of Environment, officials of the ministry said recently.
The UNEP analyzed in the report that Korea¡¯s green deal businesses, green growth strategy and the five-year plan are a leading example of promoting changes in international society, the officials said, adding that they will bring changes in Asian countries.
The U.N. unit also praised Korea for pushing the adoption of the Green Growth Declaration at the OECD cabinet ministerial meeting in June 2009 and has been playing a leading role in the formation of a climate partnership in East Asia and in the realization of a green economy in the international society.
The UNEP particularly had high praise for Korea¡¯s planned investments in the green economic sector, amounting to 107 trillion won from 2009 to 2013 or 2 percent of GDP, along with the recognition that the government plan is supported highly by the business and civilian sector. The UN organization also noted that Korea executed 20 percent of the investment in the first half of 2009 in a very wise move and achieved the highest level of growth in the second quarter of 2009 among OECD countries. nw
President Lee Myung-bak attends a ceremony of 40th Earth Day and the B4E conference on April 22 at Coex in southern Seoul.
Courtesy on the Ministry of Environment