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Seoul to invest 2.6 trillion won for green projects

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon (Yonhap)
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon (Yonhap)

Seoul City plans to invest 2.6 trillion won ($2.17 billion) for its version of the “Green New Deal” that intends to cut carbon dioxide emissions while creating jobs.

“The Seoul version of the Green New Deal is a core strategy for the post-coronavirus era that will help us to overcome climate crisis and economic crisis simultaneously,” Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said during a press conference held at City Hall on Wednesday.

President Moon Jae-in announced in May his push for the Green New Deal, taking a cue from former US President Franklin Roosevelt’s policy to help the country out of the Great Depression between 1933-1939 and adjusting it for a national vision to achieve green economy.

Remodeling obsolete public and private buildings will be the focal point of Seoul’s project, as they account for 68.2 percent of CO2 emissions in the capital city.

Starting from 2023, zero-energy construction will be mandated in stages for private buildings. It refers to reducing building energy usage by strengthening insulation and air-tightness, as well as to buildings that minimize energy consumption through energy production using renewable energy equipment such as solar power.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to propose the central government to cut down property and acquisition tax for those who applied the green construction method.

A pilot cap-and-trade system on carbon emissions will be first implemented to buildings belonging to the city next year and will be expanded to private sites in phases from 2023 to offer incentives or penalties, depending on the efforts to reduce the gas.

The city government will gradually replace fossil fuel-based buses and taxis with electric and hydrogen vehicles. By 2035, only renewable energy-based vehicles will be allowed to operate in certain green transportation zones in central Seoul. In order to realize the plan, the city will pursue a revision of related laws to enable only electric and hydrogen vehicles to hit the road by banning the registration of fossil-fuel vehicles.

Landfill burial of domestic waste will be eradicated by 2025 with expansion of waste processing facilities and promotion of recycling, it said.

The city expects the Green New Deal projects will create some 26,000 jobs by 2022 as professionals in new environmental technologies, such as builders for the green renovation of buildings and energy-related jobs including experts on electronic-switching systems, will find jobs.

With the comprehensive plans, Seoul expects it will bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 as pledged by the mayor at the Cities Against COVID-19 Global Summit, hosted by the city in June.

By Park Han-na (