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Past, present, and future of green growth

According to a recent national survey, 96.7% of respondents said the green growth policy the current government has carried forward should be continued by Korea’s next administration. The majority of respondents agreed that the green growth policy is one of the best legacies of the current administration.
  
On January 26, the Presidential Committee on Green Growth announced seven major plans to reinforce its green growth regime at Cheong Wa Dae. During its presentation of new initiatives, the benefits of the green growth policy were also reviewed.


The Global Green Growth Summit, hosted by the Korean government and OECD and organized by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and Korea Development Institute (KDI), was held in June 2011 in Seoul.

The Global Green Growth Summit, hosted by the Korean government and OECD and organized by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and Korea Development Institute (KDI), was held in June 2011 in Seoul. (Photo: Cheong Wa Dae)

Since the establishment of the Five-Year Plan for Green Growth in 2009, the Korean government has committed to investing 2% of the GDP into green growth and enacted the Framework Act on Low Carbon Green Growth in 2010. It also has introduced a greenhouse gas and energy management system along with other basics to carry forward the five-year plan.

The government’s investment in green technology R&D has been expanded from 1.4 trillion won in 2008 to 2.8 trillion won in 2011, allowing the nation to reduce the technology gap between Korea and developed countries.

As a result of prioritizing 27 major green technology initiatives and developing new technology, some sectors such as secondary batteries, smart grids, and sewage treatment have shown tangible results: one of the research teams took the second largest market share in the secondary battery market with its newly developed lithium secondary batteries.

Moreover, the Smart Grid Test Bed built on Jeju Island has become the world's largest smart grid community established for smart grid research and testing, while LG Chem established the world’s second largest manufacturing plant for secondary batteries in April last year. The Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station, built in August last year, is the world's largest tidal power installation with a total power output capacity of 254 MW and is considered one of the centerpieces of the green growth policy.

Korea opened the first overseas office of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in Copenhagen, Denmark in May 2011

Korea opened the first overseas office of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in Copenhagen, Denmark in May 2011. (Photo: Cheong Wa Dae)

The government has also increased international awareness of green growth, establishing the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in June 2010. The GGGI aims to systematize theories of green growth and disseminate green growth models around the world. Its first overseas office opened in May 2011 in Copenhagen, Denmark.


The government has also supported green growth in developing countries through the East Asia Climate Partnership (EACP), and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) currently uses the green growth model of the Korean government as an example to other countries.

In order to realize the sustainable green growth regime, the Presidential Committee on Green Growth is carrying forward seven plans.

One of the plans is to set goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for each ministry through benchmarking the UK's carbon budget, a system in which each ministry reduces carbon emissions by an adjusted amount and makes an annual report on the results to Parliament. Starting this year, this system will be applied to ministries of the Korean government.


Visitors look at the photovoltaic generation system at the World Smart Grid Expo 2011 held in COEX in May 2011

Visitors look at the photovoltaic generation system at the World Smart Grid Expo 2011 held in COEX in May 2011. (Photo: Yonhap News)

To encourage Koreans to participate in reducing carbon emissions and familiarize them with the green growth policy, green growth educational programs will be reinforced for students along with various meetings with local organizations including NGOs. The Tour de Korea, an international cycling race, which will be held in April this year, is also expected to spread the culture of cycling in Korea.

In March, the Green Technology Center (GTC) will be established to reinforce the development capability of green technology. The GTC will evaluate green technology and support the establishment of R&D policies. The GTC’s other duties will include cooperating with other nations regarding green technology and cultivating human resources in the green industry.

By Jessica Seoyoung Choi
Korea.net Staff Writer

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