some, the present financial crises signals a defense against the many
variables of an uncertain future. For others, it is the impetus to
create the future of our imaginations. Nations with an emphasis on
sustainability are about to emerge as the architects of the new global
Collapse: Some nations will choose to fail, others to succeed
Korea intends to opt out of the energy crises. Within the next few
years, aggressive spending and re-prioritization will jolt the nation
forward from a 5 percent energy self-sufficiency rate to 18 percent. By
2050, they intend to raise the rate to 50 percent.
In order to
achieve this, the government intends to make, “all-out investments to
boost the use of new and renewable energy.” The goal? “Korea (will
become) a leading powerhouse in the green technology market, which is
expected to amount to 3 quadrillion won by 2020”.
declared, “Every nook and cranny of the homeland… will be turned into
a new world filled with flowers where solar, wind and tidal energy are
fully utilized.” Beyond this, Korea has set it’s sights on emerging
from this present crises as one of the top four nations producing green
cars on the planet. I’m guess the other three won’t include the US at
People are beginning to reflect on what is actually
happening during this global financial crises. Maybe it’s not just
about sub-prime mortgages the financial clumsiness of swaggering
bankers. Maybe it is actually a global paradigm shift. In his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Jared Diamond suggests that the economy, the environment and society
are always connected, each affecting the other for success or failure.
In a recent article for the NY Times, ‘The Inflection is Near?’, Thomas Friedman invites his readers to “step
out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask
a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something
much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us
that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply
unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we
hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.”
choices before us are of a great magnitude and carry severe consequence
– the enormity of which forestalls all timidity. Dr. Bradley Googin
suggests that we are looking at a challenge akin to putting a man on
the moon. “Is this not the best time to think boldly and creatively
around the game changing that we have for a long time felt was
necessary for a sustainable capitalism and for achieving a just and
sustainable world?” he asks in his blog for the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.
The following is an excerpt from an address by president Lee Myung-bak
on the 63rd anniversary of national liberation and the 60th anniversary
of the founding of the Republic of Korea – August 15, 2008.
Vision for Another 60 Years: Low Carbon, Green Growth
My fellow citizens,
the Korean economy is undergoing difficulties stemming from the energy
crisis. The socio-economic divide and job shortages are puttingan
increasing burden on ordinary citizens. There is a growing sense of
crisis that we might collapse. In order to weather through this crisis
and jump over the threshold to advancement, more creative ideas and
dauntless resolution are needed.
we are witnessing changes in civilization. The world has gone through
the stages of the agricultural, industrial and information revolutions.
Now, it is entering the age of an environmental revolution. Leaving
behind the era of wood, coal and oil, an age of new energy is now being
For the Republic that
does not produce even a single drop of oil, such changes are both a
crisis and an opportunity as well. In retrospect, the Republic has
exhibited great capacities in turning crises into opportunities. The
Republic took the first oil shock as a springboard for its inroads into
the overseas construction market and advancement of local industries.
The second oil shock served as a catalyst for growth while pursuing
stability and opening to the outside world. Now is the time for us to
turn the recent surge in oil prices into an opportunity to transform
economic fundamentals and create new growth engines.
on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Republic
of Korea, I want to put forward ‘Low Carbon, Green Growth’ as the core
of the Republic’s new vision. Green growth refers to sustainable growth
which helps reduce greenhouse gas emission and environmental pollution.
It is also a new national development paradigm that creates new growth
engines and jobs with green technology and clean energy. Green
technology puts together information and communications technology,
biotechnology, nanotechnology and culture technology, and transcends
them all. Green technology will create numerous decent jobs to tackle
the problem of growth without job creation. The renewable energy
industry will create several times more jobs than existing industries.
In the information age, the gap between the haves and have-nots has
widened. On the contrary, the gap will narrow down in the age of green
Green growth will enable
a Miracle on the Korean Peninsula to succeed the Miracle on the Han
River. When the Republic first manufactured its own vehicles, the
technology gap with the advanced countries amounted to at least 50
years. As far as semiconductors are concerned, it was more than 20
years behind. However, the Republic grew into a technology powerhouse,
which ranks first in terms of producing semiconductors and ships, and
fifth in automobiles. If we make up our minds before others and take
action, we will be able to lead green growth and take the initiative in
a new civilization. To do this, I will make sure that the country comes
up with new green growth engines for the next generation to use for 10
to 20 years.