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Coronavirus crisis offers opportunity on climate change: finance minister

All News 13:30 September 17, 2020

SEJONG, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- The coronavirus crisis has devastated the global economy, but it has offered the world an unexpected opportunity to step up actions on climate change, South Korea's finance minister said Thursday.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki told an international forum on climate change that the world must embrace this pandemic as an opportunity to prevent future climate crises.

"Due to COVID-19, the global economy is undergoing the worst recession since the Great Depression. We are all painfully witnessing the unforeseen consequences of a pandemic in terms of public safety and economy," Hong told the International Conference on the Green New Deal.

"The COVID-19 crisis has presented us the opportunity to reassess the full effects of climate change and urgency of action," Hong said. "As a result, there has been an acceleration of green recovery policies in key countries, such as the Green Deal of the EU and the commitment of G20 nations to carbon neutrality."

In July, South Korea said it will invest 160 trillion won (US$137 billion) by 2025 under the bold stimulus package that will create 1.9 million jobs and kick-start the coronavirus-hit economy.

Unlike conventional infrastructure projects, the deal features 28 projects that will transform the nation's fossil fuel-reliant economy into an eco-friendly one and increase state investment in artificial intelligence and fifth-generation (5G) telecommunication services.

As part of the stimulus package, the Korean government plans to invest 73.4 trillion won by 2025 to enable the transition to a low-carbon and eco-friendly economy.

"The aim is to green our urban, spatial, and everyday life infrastructures through green remodeling of public facilities," Hong said. "It also aims to build eco-friendly infrastructures that promote the use and production of renewable energy."

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, who doubles as deputy prime minister for economic affairs, speaks at a meeting of economy-related ministers at the government complex in Seoul on Sept. 17, 2020, to discuss ways to spur an economic recovery amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, in this photo released by the finance ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

kdh@yna.co.kr
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