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[H.eco Forum] H.eco Forum calls for transition to clean, carbon-free energy

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : May 22, 2024 - 16:07

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Nobuo Tanaka, the former executive director of the International Energy Agency, delivers a keynote speech titled Nobuo Tanaka, the former executive director of the International Energy Agency, delivers a keynote speech titled "Global Energy and Climate Crises: Winners and Losers" during the H.eco Forum at Some Sevit in Seoul on Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

Amidst pledges and goals, grandiose yet seemingly distant, where do we stand in our much-touted transition to clean energy? This was the central question pondered at this year's H.eco Forum, held Wednesday in Seoul.

In its fourth edition this year, the annual event brought together environmental scholars, activists and experts from within and beyond South Korea, as well as ordinary citizens, under the theme, “The Transition: Blue, Clean, and Green,” at Some Sevit in southern Seoul. Around 200 participants took part, organizers said.

“While the focus (of the H.eco Forum) was on recognizing the seriousness of the environmental crisis in the past, this year, we will be discussing the practical responses (in overcoming the climate crisis) from an economic and industrial perspective,” said Choi Jin-young, president of Herald Media Group, the host and organizer of the H.eco Forum.

Choi mentioned how nations are making significant efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, a global goal adopted in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Kim Sang-hyup, co-chairperson of the Presidential Commission on Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth delivers his congratulatory remarks during the H.eco Forum at Some Sevit in Seoul, Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald) Kim Sang-hyup, co-chairperson of the Presidential Commission on Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth delivers his congratulatory remarks during the H.eco Forum at Some Sevit in Seoul, Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

Kim Sang-hyup, co-chairperson of the Presidential Commission on Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth, shared the Korean government’s effort for carbon-free energy.

“To reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector, it is important to utilize all forms of carbon-free energy, including renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, the development of small modular reactors and also clean hydrogen,” said Kim in his congratulatory remarks.

Kim added that the Korean government is currently discussing with the international community to create carbon-free energy standards and certification systems to aid the spread of carbon-free energy following the creation of the Carbon Free Alliance during the 78th UN General Assembly in September 2023.

Trade Minister Ahn Duck-geun stressed the importance of reducing the energy sector's carbon footprint.

“With around three-quarters of global carbon emissions coming from the combustion of energy (sources), reducing carbon in the energy sector is critical to achieving carbon neutrality,” Ahn said in his speech, mentioning the Korean government’s commitment to decarbonizing the energy sector.

“The government will promote the commercialization of technologies to achieve carbon neutrality through increased investments, strengthened commercialization support and improved regulations, while also supporting the use of such technologies in industries,” he added.

Minister Ahn Duck-geun from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy delivers his congratulatory remarks during the H.eco Forum at Some Sevit, Seoul, Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald) Minister Ahn Duck-geun from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy delivers his congratulatory remarks during the H.eco Forum at Some Sevit, Seoul, Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

Ahn’s speech was followed by a special address by Maria Castillo Fernandez, the ambassador of the European Union to South Korea, who shared the EU’s climate initiatives.

In his keynote speech, Nobuo Tanaka, the former executive director of the International Energy Agency, emphasized how there will be winners and losers in the future energy shift.

The first session of Wednesday’s event, “Energy Transition for Net Zero Roadmap,” took off with presentations from executive director Yoo Yeon-chul from the UN Global Compact Network Korea; director general for energy policy Choi Yeon-woo from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy; Deputy Minister Lee Chang-heum from the Ministry of Environment’s Climate Change and Carbon Neutral Policy Office; and economics professor Hong Jong-ho from Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Environmental Studies.

Kim Gi-hong from McKinsey & Company, Andreas Munk-Janson from Orsted, Jeong Gyu-chang from Hanwha Solution and professor Jerng Dong-wook from Chung-Ang University’s School of Energy Systems Engineering engaged in a panel discussion in the second session, “Blue, Clean and Green Energy.”

Artist Jin Gwan-woo of STGD, founder and executive director Jung Ju-yeon of Wear Again Lab, President Byeon Su-bin of Diphda Jeju and Belgian TV personality Julian Quintart were recognized as winners of H.eco Awards 2024 for their efforts to protect the environment.

Quintart was also the moderator of a special session joined by actor Kim Suk-hoon, director and publisher of Hey Uhm Publishing House’s Lee Seul-a and co-representative of Almang Market Ko Kum-sook.

The H.eco Forum is an annual event designed to raise environmental awareness and to provide a platform for discussions about what actions must be taken by individuals, businesses and governments. The forum is hosted and organized by Herald Media Group, which publishes The Korea Herald and Herald Business.

From left: Lee Chang-heum, deputy minister of the climate change and carbon neutral policy office of the Environment Ministry; Jeong Gyu-chang, Hanwha Solution’s business supporting team manager; Kim Gi-hong, McKinsey & Company’s partner; Andreas Munk-Janson, Orsted’s APAC operations head; Hong Jong-ho, professor of economics at Seoul National University; Nobuo Tanaka, executive director emeritus of the International Energy Agency; Kim Sang-hyup, co-chairperson of the Presidential Commission on Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth; Choi Jin-young, president of Herald Media Group; Ahn Duk-geun, minister of Trade, Industry and Energy; Maria Castillo Fernandez, EU ambassador to Korea; Yoo Yeon-chul, executive director of the UN Global Compact Network Korea; and Jerng Dong-wook, professor of energy systems engineering at Chung-Ang University, pose for a photo during the H.eco Forum 2024 held at Some Sevit in Seoul on Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald) From left: Lee Chang-heum, deputy minister of the climate change and carbon neutral policy office of the Environment Ministry; Jeong Gyu-chang, Hanwha Solution’s business supporting team manager; Kim Gi-hong, McKinsey & Company’s partner; Andreas Munk-Janson, Orsted’s APAC operations head; Hong Jong-ho, professor of economics at Seoul National University; Nobuo Tanaka, executive director emeritus of the International Energy Agency; Kim Sang-hyup, co-chairperson of the Presidential Commission on Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth; Choi Jin-young, president of Herald Media Group; Ahn Duk-geun, minister of Trade, Industry and Energy; Maria Castillo Fernandez, EU ambassador to Korea; Yoo Yeon-chul, executive director of the UN Global Compact Network Korea; and Jerng Dong-wook, professor of energy systems engineering at Chung-Ang University, pose for a photo during the H.eco Forum 2024 held at Some Sevit in Seoul on Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)