Korea’s Green Growth Strategy: A Washington Perspective
When the global financial crisis tore through world economies, national budgets around the world were immediately funneled to stabilize and revive the energy-intensive industries impacted by the market maelstrom. Yet, the Republic of Korea (ROK) saw the fiscal downturn as an opportunity to invest in new engines to power its economic growth. In a 2008 national address commemorating the 60th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak announced a “low carbon, green growth” vision for his country’s economic future.
A year later, the government introduced the National Strategy for Green Growth, and in January 2010 South Korea’s National Assembly passed the Framework Act on Low-Carbon Green Growth, codifying a 50-year plan to address climate change and achieve greater energy independence without compromising the country’s economy. Sharing a common commitment to decarbonize, the United States and the ROK have also cooperated around developing clean-energy technologies, establishing new features to a long-standing alliance relationship. Although skepticism around the details of low carbon, green growth remain, particularly megascale power generating projects and a proposed carbon-trading system, Seoul has made considerable efforts in recent years to back green growth.