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Commission lays out detailed plan for green growth

Bicycle paths, lower CO2 emissions and daylight saving time foreseen

Feb 17,2009
A presidential commission on green growth held its first meeting yesterday and finalized a plan to encourage greater bicycle use, lower carbon emissions and adopt daylight saving time.

The administration will submit a bill to the National Assembly before the end of this month backing the policies.

The government-sponsored bill will include a plan to adopt a “cap and trade” approach to control pollution.

The cap and trade regime first sets a maximum limit on emissions, called a cap, for each source. Each emitter can design its own compliance strategy to meet the requirement, and trading in allowances is allowed.

Steelmakers and petrochemical giants are particularly concerned about the costs of the program.

“Korea’s steelmaking industry needs up to 904.5 billion won annually to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 5 percent between 2010 and 2013,” said Lee Byung-woog, an industrial survey executive for the Federation of Korean Industries.

While the cap and trade plan might draw the most fire, the commission devoted much of its planning to the simple bicycle.

In cooperation with relevant ministries, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security announced a plan to create a nationwide bike path network. A bicycle-rental system will also be introduced to reinforce the role of two-wheelers as a means of transportation, the Blue House said.

In order to build the bike paths, the government will invest more than 1.25 trillion won ($875 million) by 2018, the presidential office said. To protect the safety of bicyclists, more roads will have the speed limit set lower than 30 kilometers per hour. The administration also said special insurance policies will be developed for bike riders.

Modeled after Changwon, South Gyeongsang’s “Nubija” community bicycle program, the system will provide ready access to public bikes nationwide. The program will allow a user to take a bike from one community bicycle station and return it to any other nearby station.

In addition, eight areas will be designated as pilot zones for a “U-bike” program, which will link bicycles and other forms of public transportation.

The government will develop discounts for public transportation fares when riders transfer from a bike.

“Our ultimate goal is to enable a journey across the nation by using a single card to transfer between bicycles and buses,” said Han Seok-kyoo, director of regional development policy at the Ministry of Public Administration and Security.

Exclusive bike lanes will be increased from a total of 9,170 kilometers to 17,600 kilometers by 2012.

The Lee administration expects that the use of bikes as a means of transportation will increase from the current 1.2 percent to 5 percent, and that bike ownership will grow from 16.6 percent of the population to 30 percent by 2012.

The government also announced a plan to boost Korea’s bicycle production. The presidential commission has selected the Daedeok Research and Development Special Zone to produce bike components. The investment plan also aims at increasing production of cutting-edge bikes and creating jobs.

The announcement included plans for a program to foster industrial cooperation among 40 component makers and research institutes.

To promote bike culture, a nationwide cycling competition is planned for early May, the Blue House said. The government also said it will upgrade the Tour de Korea, an international cycling competition, to a world-class event by 2012. According to the commission, the government will listen to public opinions about daylight saving and introduce the system as soon as possible.

“Green growth is not a matter of choice,” President Lee said in the meeting yesterday. “This is something we must do for survival. The only difference is whether we will acquire source technologies and precede or follow others.”

Lee said the public often confuses green growth policy with the environmental movement.

He urged the government to promote the development strategy with a clearer vision.




By Ser Myo-ja Staff Reporter [myoja@joongang.co.kr]



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