President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday urged the government to move forward with its preparations for carbon neutrality by 2050, saying that achieving the goal is "not a choice but a necessity."
Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Moon reiterated his administration’s commitment to laying the foundations for South Korea becoming a net-zero emitter.
"I made the heavy promise of moving toward the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 in the parliamentary address. It is a declaration that the climate crisis is being taken seriously, and that necessary responses and actions will be taken," Moon said, saying that aiming for carbon neutrality is a global trend and that Korea must do its part as a member of the international community.
While recognizing that the goal is difficult to attain in light of Korea’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels and its manufacturing-heavy industrial structure, Moon said the country must adapt to survive.
Saying that responding to the climate crisis is a necessity to ensure the survival of humankind and the future of Korea, Moon stressed that the country must “proactively take on the challenge,” and that related efforts must be made in all areas of society.
"For our economy’s sustainable growth, (aiming for) carbon neutrality must be used as an opportunity to innovate technology, and the industrial structure, and to create new growth momentum and jobs," Moon said.
Citing the trend toward stronger environmental regulations from the EU and other governments, Moon said low-carbon economies were becoming the "new economic order," making it necessary for corporations to move toward eco-friendly, low-carbon models in order to survive.
Saying that achieving the goal requires "calm and cool-headed national preparations," Moon called on government officials to fine-tune the plans to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"In particular, draw up plans to accelerate decarbonization, promote a hydrogen economy and increase the proportion of renewable energy," Moon said.
"The industrial innovation strategy for establishing a green industrial ecosystem must also be executed with speed."
Moon also urged government officials to support the industries in related efforts, including the development of new technologies and energy sources, and measures to protect workers and corporations likely to be affected in the process.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com