Blue Skies and Net-Zero 2050 Campaign Round Table

SEOUL, Republic of Korea; Monday, September 7, 2020 – Today, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the Climate Change Center co-hosted the Blue Skies and Net-Zero 2050 Campaign Round Table to raise awareness of the twin air pollution and climate crises and build support for ambitious action to tackle these challenges.

President and Chair of GGGI, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, delivered the opening remarks of the event sharing, “We need to build stronger public awareness of both the air pollution and climate crises and demonstrate support for ambitious, bold action. I would be very proud if the Korean Government can find more ways to ramp up climate action, create green jobs, & set clear targets—such as Net-Zero 2050.”

“As we all know, there is an urgency to set a clear deadline on making ourselves carbon free. We have no other planet,” shares Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

H.E. Simon Smith, British Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, delivered the Welcome Remarks of the Round Table, sharing that the UK aims to phase out coal completely by 2024 and, last year, the UK was the first industrialized nation to legislate a 2050 net-zero target. During his presentation, he explains that, in most parts of the world, solar and wind energy are already cheaper than fossil fuels and, since 2010, the cost of solar power has fallen by 85%, and that of wind power by 49%.

“Climate change is everyone’s business. As we have seen in the UK and elsewhere, climate leadership can and must come from all sectors of society. It is in everyone’s interest to care,” shared Ambassador Simon Smith. “It’s no longer a question of whether green and economic growth can go together. For the sake of all of us, and that of future generations, they simply must.”

Following the welcoming remarks, a keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Yoo Young Sook, Chairperson of the Board of the Directors of the Climate Change Center and Former Environment Minister of the Republic of Korea, to share that we must believe in our capacity and unite to take actions to achieve Blue Skies & Net-Zero emissions.

At the close of the first session, GGGI Director-General, Dr. Frank Rijsberman, delivered a presentation to introduce the Blue Skies and Net-zero 2050 Campaign and emphasize the need to beat air pollution, explaining that combatting the climate crisis and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement could save a million lives per year by 2050 solely from reductions in air pollution. During the presentation, Dr. Rijsberman also provided information on GGGI’s collaboration with the Green Climate Fund to enhance access to climate finance through readiness support.

Watch the recording of Session 1 here.

The 2nd session of the event featured a panel discussion for participants to share diverse best practices to achieve net-zero emissions, including experiences presented by representatives from national and local governments, private sector organizations, and civil society groups. Speakers included, H.E. Joanne Doornewaard, Dutch Ambassador to Korea; Ms. Park Yeonhee, Director of Korea Office, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability; Mr. Lee Sang-kyoo, Vice President of Environment & Quality Management Department of Korea South-East Power Corporation; Mr. Lee Wookyun, Director of OJEong Resilience Institute of Korea University; Ms. Ha Jiwon, President of Ecomom Korea; Mr. Choi Dongmin, CEO of Green Wave; and Ms. Cho Gyuri, President of GEYK (Green Environment Youth Korea).

Ambassador and Deputy Minister for Climate Change for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Yoo Yeon-chul, delivered the closing remarks of the event. “As Chair Ban Ki-moon emphasized, air pollution and climate change are two sides of the same coin. Air pollution and climate change are not challenges that a single country can address … whether it’s COVID-19 or climate change, to overcome them, we require global solidarity on going green,” explained Ambassador Yoo Yeon-chul.

Watch the recording of Session 2 here.