SEOUL, KOREA — The President proposed his ‘Low Carbon Green Growth’ vision during his speech on Korean National Liberation Day in 2008, during his first year as president. He emphasized that Korea can seek a way out of the economic crisis with green technology and eco-friendly policies by finding the potential of the environment and economy and making them the driving force of future growth.
Since his announcement, Korea has become a leading country of green growth. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) introduced Korea's national strategy for green growth in its report Global Green New Deal in February 2009, as an example meeting the requirements of the Green New Deal. International organizations and media also have paid attention to Korea’s green policy.
The Korean government established the Five-Year Plan and Low Carbon Green Growth National Strategy to meet the objectives of the policy, strategies, and major projects of green growth. It also enacted the Framework Act on Low Carbon, Green Growth covering all green growth policies for climate change, energy, and sustainable development.
The objectives of the five-year plan will be achieved by 2013: to become one of the four major producers of green cars, to increase the export of green products by 15%, to secure an 8% market share of green technology products in the world market, and to achieve a 3.8% penetration rate of bicycles in traffic. Based on these goals, the government is aiming to become one of the seven leading nations of the green policy by 2020.
The Korean government also has endeavored to reinforce international competiveness in major green industries including new energy, renewable energy, and smart grids. Korea held the inaugural executive committee meeting of the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) in June 2011, to great success. In addition, Korea is planning a 10.2 trillion won wind farm off the southwest coast of the nation by 2019. By 2014, it will begin with an initial 400 billion won (USD 355m) 100MW demonstration project. The government also has established a comprehensive national plan to promote wind, bio, renewable, and new energies.
Since the announcement of the vision, Korea also has focused on investing in new and renewable energies. As a result, the amount of exports related to new and renewable energies recorded USD 4.5 billion in 2010, showing significant progress in industrial indicators such as market size and employment in the new and renewable energy industries.
The penetration rate of new and renewable energies has steadily increased, with an annual rate of 6.65. The penetration rate of solar photovoltaic energy has exceeded its target, entering the world’s top ten with the accumulated penetration of 6,800,400 TOE. In order to foster the new and renewable energy industries, the government recently introduced the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a regulation that requires the increased production of energy from renewable energy sourcessince 2012. It also plans to double the size of energy R&D by 2015 compared to its size in 2011.
The administration has set a goal to create a new driving force for growth and examined similar previous projects from their starting point. The administration saw that the more unstable economic environment a country has, the more support should be given to growth industries to build an advanced economy. The government then started fostering a growth industry that will lead economic growth in the future.
The government has set different goals for each industry to enable them to create a new driving force of growth; it set the objectives of the industries that currently have a competitive edge such as semiconductor, shipbuilding, display, automobile, and mobile phone industries while setting the objectives of infrastructure industries such as energy, consulting, and financial industries to improve the competitiveness in their fields.
Moreover, the government enacted the Science Belt Special Law in April 2011, establishing legal and institutional bases to establish the International Science-Business Belt, a proposed industrial complex dedicated to science.
It also founded the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) to conduct research exclusively in basic sciences. Starting from 25 research groups in 2012, it will expand to 50 research groups employing 3,000 researchers by 2017. Currently, the IBS is considering a project for building a heavy ion accelerator in the institute.
The government also has established legal and political footing to create, use, and protect national intellectual property such as industrial property, copyright, and brands. Enacting the Framework Act on Intellectual Property in May 2011, it launched the Presidential Council on Intellectual Property to conduct the deliberation, control, and inspection of policies and strategies related to intellectual property as a government organization at large.
* Adapted from Gonggam Korea