‘Green growth’ gets to heart of matter

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‘Green growth’ gets to heart of matter

Lately, environmental leaders quietly agreed that “green growth” has become a stepchild of the Park Geun-hye administration after the president attended the launching ceremony of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in Songdo, Incheon, on Dec. 4.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a congratulatory video message, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres attended, but Park’s attendance was uncertain until the last minute. She showed up, but announced that “responses to climate change,” rather than “green growth” will be a part of her ideas for a creative economy.

“Green growth” is a term coined by the Lee Myung-bak administration. It is a broader concept than “responses to climate change,” an environmentally friendly development model using a low-carbon policy as an economic growth engine. The idea was based on the naming of the Green Climate Fund - the world bank of the environmental field - and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), which helps developing countries’ responses to climate change.

However, while the Park administration adopted the idea, they didn’t take the name. In fact, the president and high-level officials never mention “green growth” and just say “responses to climate change,” and working-level officials also refrain from saying the term. People around the world use the term “green growth,” which was coined in Korea, but has now disappeared here.

Nevertheless, those involved in the field are grateful. Negotiations for a new climate change program to begin after 2020 have already begun, and countries need to prepare execution plans by 2015. Because of the previous administration’s special attention on the environment, the current administration had particularly neglected the field. Now that the government is finally making an effort, the positive change is appreciated.

The name of the initiative may not matter. But the term “green growth” must not be abandoned because it originates from Korea and is a global concept. Korea should work hard to develop and promote it. It would be even better if we can develop it further and take a leading role in the post-2020 climate regime. In the new system, strategies on how to spread and implement a low-carbon growth initiatives in developing countries will be the key. Korea can become a country to support and lead green growth in developing countries through the GGGI and GCF. But should we call it “low-carbon development strategy in response to climate change”? It is very wordy and lacks creativity when we can simply say “green growth.”

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

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