Global economic recovery needs green focus, South Korea summit agrees

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger/File Photo

By Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) – Top officials from 38 countries agreed on Monday that efforts to rebuild economies from the COVID-19 pandemic should be guided by green principles and seek to reduce global greenhouse emissions.

The delegates, who included some heads of government and representatives of the United States, China and other major economies, adopted a declaration at the end of the 2021 Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030, or P4G.

The gathering was hosted by South Korea for two days, mostly online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We reaffirm the fight against COVID-19 leaves important lessons for the global response to the climate crisis and believe that the pandemic should be overcome through green recovery as a progressive strategy,” the declaration said.

The participants, including several international organizations, said they would promote public-private partnerships to battle climate change and support sustainable growth.

The document also said a green recovery may also be a turning point in efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Accord as well as the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by the United Nations in 2015.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed a “Green New Deal” aimed at helping his country bounce back from the pandemic while eventually reaching the goal of zero emissions by 2050.

In remarks to the forum on Sunday, Moon said that South Korea will raise its goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and create a $5 million fund under the Green New Deal to help speed up developing countries’ transitions to renewable energy.

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In the declaration, participants agreed to strengthen international cooperation to promote a transition to renewable energy such as solar and wind, phase out existing coal-fired power plants and halt public financing for overseas construction of such plants, and promote the use of clean hydrogen.

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