A Tale of Two Crises

British Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Mr. Martin Uden, with Asia Society Korea Center interns in Seoul on Oct. 27, 2009.

SEOUL, October 27, 2009 - H.E. Martin Uden, Great Britain's Ambassador to South Korea, emphasized the need for immediate, large-scale action to curb climate change in an Asia Society Korea Center talk at the British Embassy here.  Such action, he said, will also help lift not only South Korea but also the industrialized world out of recession.

In his speech, entitled "A Tale of Two Crises: Korea’s Role in Tackling Climate Change and the Global Economic Downturn," Uden argued that the challenge presented by the worldwide financial meltdown is also an opportunity for serious, sustained action on global warming. In fact, he continued, solutions to the two crises go hand in hand: investments in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency will lead to growth in jobs and competitiveness, thereby helping to alleviate some of the worst effects of the economic slump.

Uden noted that South Korea is not obligated to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 international agreement to combat global warming. However, South Korea's ever-increasing energy expenditure—in line with that of other industrialized nations—attests to the need for a legally-binding emission target and an annual inventory reporting to the United Nations, among numerous other carbon emission control standards. Uden praised South Korean President Lee Myung-bak for acknowledging as much, and announcing emissions reduction targets for the year 2020.  

In conclusion, Uden reiterated that climate change is the inescapable challenge facing the world at present, and that economic sacrifices in the short-term may be required for the sake of the next generation.