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South Korea’s Fight: Five Years of Green Development

In August 2008, South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak declared green growth to be the base for all future domestic development. His ambitious 60-year plan of carbon emission reduction was met with both resistance and scepticism. Korea’s approach is a model for overcoming both.

Before any ambitious projects or programs were started, the government took 18 months carefully lay out legal framework and feasible objectives. Charles Arthur, communications officer at UNIDO, divides these into “four pillars”. The first is the Presidential Committee on Growth, which coordinates policies and gives the project a strong, executive feel. The second is the Five Year Plan, which “envisages Korea becoming one of the top seven ranked green economies by 2020 and one of the top five by 2050.” 2% of the country’s GDP will be devoted to this goal, a large proportion compared to the world average.

In 2009, Myung-Bak instituted the "third pillar", the National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Target. The declaration aims for a 30% emission reduction by 2020. This decision was unilateral and applies to all sectors, so Korea is not slowed down by other countries or domestic exceptions. However, Korea has also signed the Kyoto Protocol as a symbolic, international pledge. President Lee called this “the ‘me-first’ spirit.” Businesses were resistant to these changes but, with strong legislation backing the new rules, have no choice but to comply.

The fourth "pillar", the Framework Act for Low-Carbon Green Growth has been introduced in case green growth is not up to standard. It allows the “government to intervene in the market in order to address market failures in promoting green growth".

The result is accelerated green economic growth. In the first two years of the project, sustainable investment in the 30 largest companies amounted to USD 13 billion. New energy systems are being installed by companies of all size due to their economic advantages. The government also supports these efforts with its own research and projects, most notably the Songdo International Business District, a future 1500-acre sustainable city. If Myunk-Bak wins the re-election, Korea seems headed towards a sustainable future.

Elsewhere in Asia: China’s Upcoming Construction Showcase
The country prepares to host the 2nd International Exhibition and Conference on Green Building and Retrofits Expo Asia 2012. The event will be held in September and will host various multiple companies from the Southeast Asian region. In particular, Thailand is placed top 10 in Carbon Development Mechanism and Singapore’s government offers perks for sustainable construction.

Read the complete reports (sources):
"Building the architecture for green growth"
Published on SustainableCitiesCollective.com by Charles ARTHUR – April 5, 2012

"China set to boost its green products"
Published on Nationmultimedia.com – April 22, 2012

Posted by: Robert YOUNGBLOOD / Translation English -> French by: Sarah KHEDER

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