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Some changes in green technology policies in Korea since 2008


     Green technoly has been paid special attention to by the Government of Korea since 2008 when President Lee Myung-bak approved the National Vision on Green Growth, Low Carbon.


     According to the Green Technology Committee of Korea, Green Growth (GG) will lead to environmental protection and creation of new industries as well as new jobs thanks to green technologies and clean energy (such as solar energy, tidal/wave/ocean energy, and hydropower) as a replacement for fossil fuels (such as oil and coal)". In the umbrella Law on GG, Low Carbon of Korea, GG is defined as: "GG is the growth that achieves economic and environmental harmony, through saving and efficient use of energy and natural resources in order to mitigate climate change and environmental degradation; simultaneously promotes research on clean energy and green technology (GT) to ensure new growth motivation and create new jobs...". Through which, Korea has reiterated that GT is the focus of the national vision on GG and GT development towards creating new growth motivation.


President Lee Myung-bak speaking at B4E, the Business for Environment Global Summit 2010 in Seoul Korea


     In 2009, Korea has established comprehensive policies on GT research development. Since then, the role of GT in the economic development of Korea has always been highlighted; at the same time, GT policies have been improved.

     Accordingly, since 2008, policies on GT have changed, amended and strengthened, and improved on previous period’s shortcomings. In terms of the growth model, Korea has converted from the GG, Low Carbon model (during President Lee Myung-bak term) to the "New era of hope and happiness" vision with the innovative economy model (during President Park Geun-hye term); however, the core values and development orientations towards a green, environmentally - friendly economy model, emphasis on the role of GT, clean energy and maintenance of targets of emission reduction of the Korean Government are unchanged. A recent proof is that the Government of Madam Park has declared the target for greenhouse gas reduction in 2030 to be 37% compared to the BaU scenarios (following the target of 30% reduction in 2020 announced during the President Lee Myung-bak period). This declaration clearly illustrates enormous efforts of the new Government on following green targets that Korea has declared to the world. Therefore, this declaration has achieved positive response from the people and the international communities, at the same time, many researches suggest that the time under Madam Park’s ruling will open a new era on GG (GG Era 2.0).

     The foundation for maintaining these development orientations, including orientation on GT, is the operation of the GG Committee, which was previously under the President’s command, and is currently under the Korea’s Prime Minister’s. Professor Lee Seung-hoon - Chairman of the Committee informed that: The Committee will strongly follow the GG Strategy of the previous Government; of which, subsequent policies will focus mostly on innovation, commercialization, production and export of green technologies, as well as relevant products and processes.

     In addition, it could be seen that policies on GT are more insightful and focal. From the list of 75 technology nominees, Korea has selected 27 core green technologies for focal development (classification by time and focus level). Out of 27 core technologies, 10 core green technologies were selected in 2014, then Korea selected the top 6 core green technologies for development prioritization. With this focal and profound investment method, in the future, Korea will highly likely shorten the distance in technologies with developed countries.

     In other words, in the past few years, there are changes on GT policies and these changes are necessary and appropriate with the development process. The President Lee Myung-bak period could be considered as the fundamental period - establishment of legal foundations (Law on GG, Low carbon), establishment of the domestic operating agency (GG Committee), establishment of the international operation organization (Global GG Institute), development of five-year Plan and 60 years vision… which lays the foundation for the GT development process. During the President Park Geun-hye term, based on existing foundations, the GT development converts from research to pilot application and expansion to commercialization, production and exports. For example, the pilot smart electricity grid system that was developed in 2009 in Jeju applies advances of the information technology into the existing electricity grid. With conducted researches, in the near future, Korea will convert to trials at commercial level. The first trial will be conducted in a big city then expanded to nationwide. Therefore, GT will develop towards "from lab to daily practice".

     Changes in GT policies of Korea:


Publication of the GG, Low Carbon Vision

60th Liberation Day Anniversary

Propose the "GG, low carbon" vision to be the national development model


Establish the comprehensive policy on GG research and development

National Science and Technology Committee

Promote GT integration, expand fundamental research, green existing industries, explore future growth motivation, develop infrastructure for GT (selection of 27 core green technologies)


Establish strategies for core GT development and commercialisation

GG Committee

Energy source technology, productivity enhancement technology, industry greening technology - environmental protection space and technology - natural resources circulation (classification of 27 core green technologies by time and focus level)


Development of five-year plan on GG

GG Committee

Climate change response, energy independence, new growth motivation, living quality improvement and national image enhancement


Selection of 10 core green technologies

GG Committee

New generation secondary battery, green PC, LED, high efficient solar battery, green car, smart electricity grid, new light water reactor model, fuel battery, carbon sequestration, advanced water treatment


Second fundamental plan on sustainable development

Inter-ministerial Committee

Enhance the sustainability of the environment & natural resources, adapt and establish the climate change response system, enhance social equality and people health, enhance the sustainability of the economy and industry structure


The 3th environmental technology and environmental industry nurture plan

National Science and Technology Appraisal Committee

Strategies for environmental technology development, strategies for environmental technology nurture, strategies for development of technology integration and environmental technology (5 targets, 16 core technologies)


 National task of the Government

Inter-ministerial Committee

Propose "New era of hope and happiness" vision to be the national development model


Implementation plan of the innovative economy

Inter-ministerial Committee

Enhance the role of the innovative economy, create growth motivation, explore new technologies - new markets, enhance capacity for information technology and communication renewal…


Three-year plan on economy reform

Inter-ministerial Committee

The economy is stable, dynamic; the economy is balanced between export and domestic demands


Second five-year plan on GG


Low carbon economic - social structure, implementation of the innovative economy through the integration of GT with information - communication technology…


Strategy for core technology development to respond to climate change

Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning

Selection of six core green technologies

Source: GT Centre (2014), White Paper on GT Policy 2014


     Currently, the GT development is a global trend and a highly promising potential market in the future. In terms of global and domestic context, Korea has proactively participated in the GT race with the hope to find new motivations for economic development in the upcoming period. This effort of Korea does not only contribute to stimulate the national economy but also show the responsibility of a responsible nation to the global threats.

      In terms of policies, within less than 10 years, the Korean Government has created relatively adequate policies and legal foundations for future development orientations. For each development period, Korea established short-term to medium-term and long-term plans, with specific objectives to measure and assess the outcomes as well as to propose adjustments if needed. The development of a methodical policy method will definitely create conditions for green technologies of Korea to develop further in the future.


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