On October 29th, Chairman Ban Ki-moon was invited to speak at World Peace Forum regarding the Republic of Korea’s commitment to carbon neutrality. Chairman Ban gave a congratulatory speech and spoke on the importance of sustainable development goal implementation.
He stated with his congratulatory remarks. “This time, Busan city became the second city to join the international peace city after Pocheon. It’s a great pleasure, and congratulations from the bottom of my heart.” He stated.
In addition, Chairman Ban gave a sincere story of the people in his country. ”The people of the Republic of Korea have lived hard and hard, not forgetting the moment when they sacrificed their lives to the altar of freedom and peace for the past 70 years. And we created a country worthy of their sacrifice. I believe that the UN soldiers in heaven will look up to this country and be proud of it.” He said.
Chairman Ban then gave his thoughts on the “Korean New Deal Comprehensive Plan”. ”The European Union is now taking a decisive step toward overcoming the climate crisis through a green deal toward a decarbonized society. In July, Korea also announced the “Korean New Deal Comprehensive Plan” with Green New Deal as one axis. I think we need to clarify the concept and goals of the Green New Deal, so that it can go beyond simply economic stimulus and become a total de-carbon social and economic transformation in response to climate change.” He stated.
Chairman Ban concluded with an urgent message for international efforts for sustainable development. “What the goal of sustainable development demands from us is a fundamental shift in the ways of civilization and life. We have to keep in mind that we are already very late. If we don’t start climate change right now, we can’t leave our rich and peaceful lives to our sons and daughters.” He concluded.
Byun Sung-wan, acting mayor of Busan,
Former U.N. Ambassador Kim Sook,
World Vice President Frank Koony Eclay,
Moon Tae-hoon, former chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee,
Frank Riceberman, Secretary-General of GGGI,
Lee Joon-seung, head of the environmental policy department in Busan,
And distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Congratulations on the hosting of the Busan UNWeek and the World Peace Forum, and thank you to the Busan Metropolitan Government and the Busan Foundation for inviting me to this precious place.
This time, Busan city became the second city to join the international peace city after Pocheon. It’s a great pleasure, and congratulations from the bottom of my heart.
Currently, 298 cities worldwide are registered as international peace cities, but Busan is also the most suitable city for its name. This is because there is a United Nations Memorial Park in Busan, where U.N. soldiers who were killed in the Korean War are sleeping. The United Nations Memorial Park is the world’s only U.N. Memorial Cemetery officially recognized by the United Nations.
The people of the Republic of Korea have lived hard and hard, not forgetting the moment when they sacrificed their lives to the altar of freedom and peace for the past 70 years. And we created a country worthy of their sacrifice. I believe that the UN soldiers in heaven will look up to this country and be proud of it.
The three pillars of the United Nations are peace, security, development and human rights. Since the founding of the United Nations in 1945, no other country has realized the purpose of the United Nations as well as our Republic of Korea. And no other city can remember as well as our Busan how much the United Nations sometimes sacrificed to realize the three great spirits. Now that Busan has joined the international peace city based on that memory, the Republic of Korea has moved faster from a peaceful country to a peaceful one.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen!
Currently, there are 41.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 1.13 million deaths worldwide as of October 22. After all this damage, COVID-19 has not shown any signs of stopping. It continues to spread, decrease, stagnate, and spread cycles, threatening human life. COVID-19 is indeed the biggest disaster since World War II, and it is not staying in a health crisis, it is destroying the global economy and threatening international peace and security.
Now we have to think about the essential cause of COVID-19. Human history records countless wars between humans and viruses. But a new history of viruses has been written since the 2000s. From 2003 SARS to this year’s COVID-19, there have been six major infectious diseases.
Behind it are the destruction of the natural environment and climate change. Due to human reckless development and climate change, the habitat of natural ecosystems has been destroyed, bringing the distance between wild animals and humans, and the virus that was parasitic on wild animals to humans. As ecosystem destruction and climate change intensify, the epidemic will worsen and the epidemic cycle will be shortened. The emergence of new viruses and germs is, in a way, a punishment that angry nature imposes on humans.
The Korona crisis has made sustainable development and climate change actions more urgent and inevitable.
The civilization that mankind has achieved over the past hundreds of years has been a blessing to us. But now blessings are turning into disasters. In a paper published in Science in 2016, 24 multinational researchers argued that a new geological era called the “Humanity Tax” should be formalized. Greenhouse gases and plastics, like methane and carbon dioxide, are accumulating in the atmosphere, in the stratosphere, in the ocean and in the glaciers, causing different geological changes from the previous era, and the pace is getting faster and faster. In addition to the isotopes and plastics produced in nuclear tests, another obvious evidence of anthropogenicity is the rate of extinction of species. More than 400 species of vertebrates have been extinct in the last 100 years, and 70 percent of all species are expected to disappear in the next 100 years.
Climate change is becoming extreme all over the globe. Unprecedented downpours in China for months from May have led to fears of the collapse of the world’s largest Sansha Dam, causing the worst disaster ever. Also on August 16, daytime temperatures soared to 54.4 degrees Celsius in Death Valley, California, the highest since 1931. This year’s adjusted Doomsday clock has only 100 seconds left until the end of the Earth, so it’s not surprising to see this weather change.
Our country is no exception. According to the 기후변화Korea Climate Change Report 보고서 released by the Korea Meteorological Administration and the Ministry of Environment in July, Korea rose 1.8 degrees between 1912 and 2017 while the average global surface temperature rose 0.85 degrees between 1880 and 2012. At the end of this century, the temperature of our country will rise 4.7 degrees. In 2090 the cherry blossom season will be 11.2 days earlier than it is now, the area suitable for apple cultivation will disappear, and tangerines will be grown to Gangwon-do. As we know, there will be no such thing as Samcheon-ri Geumsugangsan.
Like this, the climate crisis is not what the future is, but what’s happening right in front of us. The COVID-19 Pandemics may be the last warning on Earth for mankind to take immediate action on sustainable development and climate change.
As the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations who led the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the conclusion of the Paris Climate Change Convention, I once again appeal to citizens around the world to fulfill two big commitments for ourselves and our descendants.
The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the 70th U.N. General Assembly in 2015 and consist of 17 goals and 169 detailed goals in five areas: human, earth, prosperity, peace and partnership. Under the slogan of “not alienating a single person,” the largest number of countries in history have vowed to achieve the great promise of humanity by 2030.
The U.N. Commission on Environmental Development defined sustainable development in its 1987 report, The Future of Our Common Future, as “a development that satisfies the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Sustainable development is a concept that encompasses the environment, peace, and human rights in addition to the narrow development of the meaning.
In the past, we understood development as quantitative growth. Therefore, it was development to raise the outward quantitative economic indicators as quickly as possible. As a result, the various factors that make up human happiness, such as the environment, peace, human rights, and justice, tend to be ignored. Development is ultimately for human well-being, and in the development of quantitative growth, the purpose itself is often lost and the human being disappeared. So the goal of sustainable development is to restore the full meaning of development, to encompass all aspects of life and to embrace inclusive growth.
I paid special attention to climate change when I was Secretary-General of the United Nations. The response to climate change was only one of the goals of sustainable development, but if this one goal was not achieved, all other goals were meaningless. If the earth, which is the home of mankind, is damaged, there will be no development and no human beings.
So while in office, I went to the North Pole and the South Pole, and almost everywhere there was evidence of climate change. When I saw the climate change scene, I decided I couldn’t afford to wait any longer, and I met with world leaders and began to persuade them about the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Beyond the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, the path to the adoption of the Paris Climate Change Convention in 2015 was tough. I have been given a difficult historical task of engaging as many developed countries as possible, including major greenhouse gas emitters such as the United States, China, and India. On December 12, 2015, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was finally adopted, although it sometimes experienced major failures.
Under the agreement, the international community has promised to curb rising global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius before the industrial age, but limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible. This agreement is binding, so each country must faithfully fulfill its commitments (NDC). Korea also promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 37% from the BAU by 2030.
However, I am very sorry that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change does not seem to be faithfully implemented after my retirement. The United States has withdrawn from the agreement and other advanced countries are neglecting to fulfill their responsibilities. Leaders of developed countries promised to mobilize $100 billion in public private funds annually for climate action in developing countries at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009, which was reaffirmed in Paris. But the promised funds are now well below the target.
Korea is also stigmatized as a climate villain, ranking seventh in the world in greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. In fact, the reduction targets that our government submitted during the Paris climate change agreement were based on emissions estimates for 2030. However, the international community has assessed that this is more passive than other countries, which have been calculated based on the actual emissions from the past. In 2018, the government shifted its reduction target to 536 million tons in absolute quantity, but this is only a different expression, with no change in the actual reduction itself. Recently, the EU and 73 countries around the world have declared a de-carbon policy: Net-Zero. Korea should also raise its greenhouse gas reduction target in line with the international community’s move.
In order for us to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and remove the stigma of climate villains, we need to quickly transform the current carbon-centric energy mix into an eco-friendly energy mix. I am currently the chairman of the National Climate and Environment Council, but this transition is also necessary to alleviate the fine dust problem. Fine dust also has a high proportion of domestic factors. In parts, fine dust emitted by factories and businesses accounts for 41 percent of the total domestic emissions, 29 percent of the transportation sector, and 12 percent of the amount comes from thermal power plants. Therefore, reducing thermal power generation can reduce coal use and fine dust emissions.
However, it is not easy to convert the current carbon-centric energy mix to an eco-friendly one. In the 3rd Basic Energy Plan, which was finalized on June 4, 2019, the government set a goal of increasing the proportion of renewable energy generation to up to 35% by 2040, while banning the extension of the life span of old nuclear power plants and the construction of new nuclear power plants. I believe that renewable energy needs to be greatly expanded, but plans that include a drastic reduction in nuclear power plants are not realistic. We don’t know how we can achieve our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions without the aid of nuclear power plants while providing enough cheap electricity. The government should reconsider its nuclear policy and develop a more realistic eco-friendly energy mix plan.
The European Union is now taking a decisive step toward overcoming the climate crisis through a green deal toward a decarbonized society. In July, Korea also announced the “Korean New Deal Comprehensive Plan” with Green New Deal as one axis. I think we need to clarify the concept and goals of the Green New Deal, so that it can go beyond simply economic stimulus and become a total de-carbon social and economic transformation in response to climate change. To this end, the Green New Deal should include drastic de-coal policies such as gradual reduction of coal-fired power plants and the elimination of internal combustion engine vehicles.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen!
In the last 10 or 20 years, nature has sent countless warnings to humans through typhoons, heavy rains, floods, heat waves, forest fires, droughts and fine dust. But humans didn’t really know how to learn. No matter how much nature teaches, humans refuse to learn, and we are finally learning from the beauty of coronavirus. Now listen to nature’s warnings, or its screams.
What the goal of sustainable development demands from us is a fundamental shift in the ways of civilization and life. We have to keep in mind that we are already very late. If we don’t start climate change right now, we can’t leave our rich and peaceful lives to our sons and daughters. Busan City also joined the international peace city this time to further enhance its reputation as a U.N. city, so please make more efforts to realize its goals for sustainable development and the three major U.N. spirit.