(President Shin and Former UN Secretary General at the Seoul Climate Change-Energy Conference)
Global leaders from both the private and public sectors discussed creative ways to seek inclusive green growth and sustainable development at the Seoul Climate-Energy Conference on November 24 in Seoul. The annual conference was co-hosted by KAIST and the Coalition for Our Common Future under the theme “Creating New Momentum for the Paris Agreement and a Sustainable Future.”
More than 100 global leaders participated in the forum including the Director General Frank Rijsbermanof the Global Green Growth Institute and Executive Director Howard Bamsey of the Green Climate Fund. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who played a significant role in the signing of the Paris Agreement, was the keynote speaker.
This year’s conference focused on Korea’s low carbon-energy transition and the Fourth Industrial Revolution to be aligned with green growth. At the conference, speakers and participants reviewed the progress of the decisions made by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP23 in Bonn, Germany. The conference discussed topics of global collaboration for new climate regimes, green energy infrastructure, the Asia super grid, financing green energy, smart green cities, and new mobility.
President Sung-Chul Shin emphasized global action and greater resilience toward climate change in his opening remarks. He said, “Today’s climate change can be attributed directly to the past three industrial revolutions. As industrialization continues, we must not make future generations pay the cost of this Fourth Industrial Revolution.” He explained that it is increasingly complicated to address climate change and energy issues because even though the use of energy consumption will continue to increase, energy policies are interwoven with global politics.
He stressed three keywords to better address this global problem: innovation, collaboration, and speed. First he emphasized innovation as a priority for future success as it is hard to retain confidence without innovation.
He noted KAIST has made sustainability initiatives in the fields of EEWS (energy, environment, water, sustainability) and green mobility. He also noted the importance of collaboration as industries are moving beyond a single discipline. KAIST is making collaborations in R&D and sustainability sectors, such as Saudi Aramco’s CO2 management center in KAIST. Finally, he explained that the speed of new transformation will be beyond our imagination, and governments should work efficiently to address issues in a fast manner.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban called for global unity in addressing climate change. He strongly emphasized that countries should make agreements not of willingness but of action, and that politicians should realize that this global agenda should be given top priority above domestic politics. He addressed how the world is experiencing the most powerful and destructive effects of climate change which makes active participation in the Paris Agreement increasingly important.
He expressed his concern that the richest and most powerful countries are backing off, emphasizing the role of these countries as both global leaders and top producers of CO2. He also shared his hopes that the OECD will continue to work to fill the absence of the United States, and stressed the importance of acquiring 10 billion USD by 2020 to fund mitigation and adaptation technologies for developing countries’ CO2 emissions.