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Keynote Address by President Moon Jae-in on Future of Energy at APEC CEO Summit

  • Date : 2021-11-12 16:57:30
  • Hit : 2248

Keynote Address by President Moon Jae-in on Future of Energy at APEC CEO Summit

(Unofficial Translation)

Your Excellency New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, APEC CEO Summit Chair Barbara Chapman, CEOs and distinguished guests, 

It is meaningful to discuss the future of energy at the APEC CEO Summit, which has been a driver of innovation and economic growth in the Asia Pacific region. I hope that today’s summit will serve as an opportunity to find solutions for the climate crisis and the region’s inclusive, sustainable development.

Business leaders,

In order to combat the climate crisis, we must immediately act and closely cooperate to march toward a carbon-neutral society. We must have extraordinary determination and the resolve that humanity’s survival and future hinges on our action today.

The continuous use of coal and oil as energy sources is no longer feasible. We must lead civilization’s great transformation through new energy solutions. We must increase our reliance on renewable energy like solar and wind power and enhance energy efficiency through digital technology innovation.

Future technologies and industries as well as new jobs will come from our commitment to carbon neutrality. If all governments and businesses work together and compete to hasten the energy transition and innovation, humanity can leap forward to a new civilization. 

Solidarity, cooperation and inclusiveness are what matters. These epitomize the spirit of APEC – the pursuit of shared growth and prosperity through free trade amid cooperation. Asian countries in the Western Pacific have upheld the valuable spirit of inclusiveness that excludes no one. 

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, ASEAN, Korea, China and Japan have shared our neighbors’ burdens by establishing the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies. Based on the RCEP and Korea-ASEAN FTA, Korea is working to create stronger supply chains among the region’s countries and achieve an inclusive recovery. 

Countries in the Eastern and Southern Pacific have been exploring ways to achieve sustainable growth while implementing – a step ahead of others – an energy cooperation and carbon neutrality vision. Central and Southern American countries have reinforced energy partnerships to respond to the climate crisis through the Latin American Energy Organization. New Zealand, Canada and the United States have taken the lead in building a concrete legal framework and system around 2050 carbon neutrality. Korea, too, has joined the global effort for carbon neutrality by enacting the Framework Act on Carbon Neutrality. 

Today, I intend to introduce what the Korean people, businesses and Government are doing to achieve sustainable development while advancing into a carbon-neutral society. I will also suggest a path toward inclusiveness that APEC can pursue with us.

The first step is to establish an inclusive energy transition partnership between the private sector and government. Korea is breaking away from coal-fired power generation. Since the launch of my Administration, we have already closed down eight coal-fired power plants earlier than scheduled and plan to shut down two more next month. Moreover, we have stopped issuing permits for new domestic coal power plants and in April cut public financing for new ones overseas. 

We are instead expanding the use of safe and clean energy. By 2025, we will have more than doubled our solar and wind power facilities compared to 2020 levels. We will maximize the efficiency of new and renewable energy generation and spread out its production and consumption. 

Stronger support will be provided to businesses as well. Korean companies are vigorously pushing forward with the transition to carbon neutrality. They are participating in the RE100 project and expanding investments in renewable energy to speed up ESG management. Korea will inject US$52 billion in building green infrastructure and underpin industries with technological and financial support as they transition to a low-carbon economy. Our tailor-made support programs will encourage companies to develop technologies and make more investments. 

In particular, we will work to minimize the impact on industries and business sectors and help people swiftly move into different sectors and change jobs. Investment-related tax credits and state-backed financing will be expanded to induce investments in the low-carbon transition. 

The second step is to set up a region-wide partnership in order to establish a hydrogen economy ecosystem. Hydrogen is an emission-free future energy source that, at the same time, is available to every country and has a higher energy density than fossil fuels. In 2050, it is expected to account for 13 to 18 percent of world energy, and the annual size of the market is forecast to reach US$12 trillion. 

APEC member countries are competing to build the hydrogen economy ecosystem while working together. The United States is implementing its Hydrogen Program Plan and Australia its National Hydrogen Strategy while China and Japan are laying hydrogen economy foundations as well. 

Korea has also set out a blueprint for fostering the hydrogen economy in 2019. We have enacted the world’s first Hydrogen Act, which subsequently launched the pan-government Hydrogen Economy Committee. Korean companies are making a huge US$37 billion investment. Major Korean companies have formed a consultative body through which they are exploring partnerships across all areas of the hydrogen economy from production and distribution to end use. 

Korea’s hydrogen economy is growing rapidly. Korea has become the first country to succeed with the mass production of hydrogen cars, and our various hydrogen-powered vehicles hold the largest global market shares. Our top-rated hydrogen fuel-cell technology will contribute to a hydrogen economy ecosystem growing within the region.  

By 2050, Korea aims to turn gray hydrogen completely blue and green and significantly increase the production of green hydrogen. We will support technology development in all aspects of the hydrogen industry and pursue standardization through joint international research. 

As an economic forum that represents 61 percent of world GDP, APEC will stand at the forefront of cultivating the hydrogen economy ecosystem. I hope that APEC ushers in a new Asia-Pacific era on the energy front by building a clean hydrogen value chain – Korea will also actively participate. 

The third step is cross-border inclusiveness. Korea has been enthusiastically responding to the global climate crisis. The Green Climate Fund and Global Green Growth Institute based themselves in Korea, and we have stood by our neighboring countries by mobilizing climate funds. The P4G Seoul Summit that we hosted in May won the backing of both advanced and developing countries for the Seoul Declaration. Moreover, at the recent COP26, Korea announced improved 2030 NDCs that aim to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40 percent from the 2018 peak levels. We also joined the Global Methane Pledge to reduce methane. 

The climate crisis knows no borders, and we should work together to fight it in the same way. In order to achieve carbon neutrality, every country should share its experiences and technologies. In particular – more important than anything else – advanced countries must fully support developing countries and work with them during the process. Korea will continue our contributions to climate funds and expand partnerships in the green technology field through the Climate Technology Center and Network. We will also expand Green New Deal ODA and continue our cooperation through P4G’s public-private partnership. We are determined to work with member countries to ensure smooth implementation of the Putrajava Vision 2040 that seeks to double the proportion of new and renewable energy in the power mix by 2030 from 2010 levels.  

Business leaders and distinguished guests, 

Today, I hope our commitments and partnerships for the energy transition and carbon neutrality grow stronger, and I look forward to North Korea’s coming on board as well. Finding a way to move forward without emitting more carbon is a task assigned to all humanity – one that needs everyone to work together to succeed. North Korea is focused in particular on mountain reforestation. Having North Korea join forestry cooperation in Northeast Asia will not only help reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the Korean Peninsula but also contribute to the whole region’s peace and prosperity. There are numerous countries that have established peace through forestry cooperation. I hope that permanent peace will be achieved as we grow and share forests together on the Korean Peninsula. 

The carbon-neutral society we aspire to build through an energy transition is a world that grows in an inclusive and sustainable manner. APEC has immense roles and responsibilities as the world’s largest economic forum. Business leaders like you who have spurred Asia-Pacific economic growth through innovative ideas, bold actions and inclusive leadership are the main players opening the door to carbon neutrality. This new civilization made from new energy sources, let us start it right now. 

Thank you.