Officials tackle climate concerns

Speakers and presenters at the Seoul Climate-Energy Conference. The event, hosted by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the Green Technology Center and the Coalition for Our Common Future, was held yesterday at the Plaza Hotel in Seoul. Provided by the Seoul Climate-Energy Conference

Senior South Korean officials and experts from around the world discussed efforts to cope with climate change yesterday in a conference ahead of a United Nations summit on the environment that addressed specific agendas and challenges.

The Seoul Climate-Energy Conference 2014 was organized by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the Green Technology Center and the Coalition for Our Common Future, and attended by the South Korean government, the Global Climate Fund and the Global Green Growth Institute.

More than 400 people, including senior South Korean government officials, world renowned scholars, politicians and business leaders addressed the tasks that must be dealt with at the United Nations Climate Summit on Sept. 23 in New York.

More than 150 experts and state leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, are expected to be present at the summit, which aims to pave the way for a new climate treaty.

Due to be ratified in Paris next year, it will replace the Kyoto Protocol and conceivably bind all countries by the commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and reform their energy systems.

At yesterday’s conference, the participants evaluated global efforts, including those by Korea, to tackle climate change. They also discussed new strategies concerning sustainable development and low-carbon economy.

After four rounds of panel discussions, the conference adopted 10 recommendations to the UN Climate Summit: They recommended that a high-level governance structure should be institutionalized and aligned throughout the international community.

They also advocated that carbon markets in 40 countries be linked and that benefits be created for early movers – those that take the initiative to reduce carbon emissions and lessen the impact on the environment.

The recommendations called for a big push in public money followed by boosting private investment.

Participants also stressed the importance of political leadership in tackling climate change.

Kim Sang-hyup, a professor at KAIST and the architect of the Korean government’s green growth program during the previous Lee Myung-bak administration, added that jobs must be created, poverty eradicated and sustainable development systems built through economic development and efforts to restore the environment in order to successfully cope with climate change.

“We hope the 10 recommendations to the UN Climate Summit, adopted by the conference, will serve as a cornerstone for a successful 2015 climate treaty,” Kim said.

Other participants at the conference, including Yvo de Boer, director-general of the Global Green Growth Institute, and Professor Robert Stavins, director of Harvard Project on Climate Agreement, emphasized political leadership in resolving sensitive issues associated with emission reduction efforts.

Read the full article at the Joong-Ang Daily.