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President Lee Myung-bak’s Keynote Speech at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

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‘Taking Action Together’

First of all, I join you in thanking the Danish government and the people of Copenhagen for preparing this meeting.

The decisions that we make here today will affect not only ourselves but our children and the future of this planet.

Almost Seven billion people are watching us.

We must not disappoint them or ourselves.
If we wish to make any real difference, the only way is to take action together.

Instead of saying “you first”, we should start by doing “me first.”

Tackling climate change must begin with each of us doing our own part and once we do, and then there we can start a truly positive cycle around the world.
This is the reason why Korea proposed a NAMA registry.

This mechanism will internationally recognize the voluntary targets set by developing countries and increase transparency and also provide assistance so that they can achieve these goals.
This will be one way to encourage countries to act voluntarily.

As promised, Korea announced its own mid-term mitigation goal.

As a non-annex 1 country, we made a voluntary and unilateral pledge that satisfies the highest demand recommended by the international community.
As you know, the Korean economy has always been very energy-intensive.

For the last fifteen years, our greenhouse gas emissions almost doubled.
For such a country, meeting this pledge is no easy task at all.
But, Korea chose to be an early-mover when it comes to tackling climate change.

Various stakeholders met numerous times to listen to each others’ concerns and needs.

And in the end, we came to an agreement.

We all agreed that we must do this because acting first is good for us and good for the world.

Yes, I believe ‘Me first attitude’ is the fastest way to save our planet.
Leaders and world citizen!

We all agree on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But how?

There are many different opinions when it comes to answering this question.
This is why here in Copenhagen we must focus upon ‘how’ we are going to reduce our emissions.
In particular, when we consider our need to continue economic development, coming up with a solution becomes very important.

In this regard, we must focus on “how to” reduce greenhouse gas emissions/
as much as we do on “how much.”

In the case of Korea, we set up “Low Carbon Green Growth” as our new national vision.

We are annually investing 2% of our GDP into R&D of new green technologies and green infrastructure.
For this, the Basic Law on Green Growth is about to be passed by the end of this year.
We will do our best to reduce carbon emissions but also seek new engines of growth that will ensure sustainable development, more jobs and a greener future.
And I hope to share this with all of you.

This is one reason why Korea will establish a Global Green Growth Institute or GGGI during the first half of next year.
The GGGI will help all of us share our experiences and know-how with each other.

We will gather scholars, scientists and civil society leaders from around the world to come up with workable solutions to our problems.
In the spirit of global partnership, the GGGI can act as a global think tank and as a bridge between the advanced and the developing countries.

In this regard, Korea is ready to contribute in opening up the post-2012 regime by hosting the COP 18 in 2012.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
and world citizen,

We all agreed on the 2 degree target.

Now, we must act to save our planet.

We have been given a historical responsibility.
What we achieve here and the actions that we take from now on will shape the future.

Let us not forget that.

It is now time for us to take action together.

Thank you.

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