The two great challenges of the 21st century are the battle against world poverty and the
management of climate change. On both we must act strongly now and continue that action over
the coming decades. Our response to climate change and poverty reduction will define our
generation. If we fail on one of them, we will fail on the other.
The response to these challenges requires urgent and decisive action: we must invest in new
technologies; manage ourselves - particularly on energy -more efficiently; protect our
forests and provide safe water. But a well constructed response will launch a new energy and
industrial revolution which will last several decades, be full of dynamism and innovation,
and provide a much more attractive way of living.
Developing countries must chart their own course. As they set their own priorities for development,
they are increasingly recognizing that putting climate change at the heart of their growth agenda is
not only crucial for the future of the planet, but full of opportunities and advantages.
Korea, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, are some of the countries that have, over the last couple of
years, developed and started implementing their low-carbon growth plans. They recognized that the
low-carbon future is the only possible one, as the high-carbon future is destined to choke itself
either on high fossil fuel prices, or much more fundamentally, on the hostile environment which would
follow from uncontrolled greenhouse gases.
And it brings huge benefits beyond climate change. Renewable energy sources can free countries from a
dependence on imported fossil fuels. Cleaner transport and cooling mean less pollution and
better health. Halting deforestation protects water supplies, controls flooding and provides
bio-diversity. A low-carbon agriculture will be both more productive in terms of labour, energy and
water, and more climate resilient.
The transition to a low-carbon future can bring major economic gains. Energy efficiency can help
boost incomes. Low-carbon technologies can open up new sources of growth and jobs. They can help even
the poorest countries leap-frog old approaches – they can avoid some of the cost of large power
grids in the way cell phones helped cut the need for telephone wires. And smarter grids can
both enhance energy efficiency and enable new technologies whilst cutting transmission costs.
New sources of low-carbon energy – hydro, solar, wind – could help create a comparative
advantage for some of the poorest countries.
The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), which was officially launched on June 16 2010 in
Seoul, Republic of Korea, is timely and well placed to support developing countries in reaching their
development and growth aspirations through low-carbon, climate resilient green growth plans.
Thanks to its independence and the direct involvement of developing countries institutions, it will
be in a position to be a trusted advisor to countries as they plan their own future. Thanks to its
global nature, it will be able to exchange and promulgate experiences on green growth from across the
world. Thanks to its network of governments, civil societies and private sector, it will be in a
position to offer support across formulation, implementation and execution of the plans.
This is the moment to work together to demonstrate that low-carbon growth is not only possible, but
that it can be a productive, efficient and attractive route to overcome world poverty. It is indeed
the only sustainable route. Strong action now can both take us to a much more attractive pattern of
development than we now see, and save the people of the world from the destruction that will derive
from the high-carbon path we have followed until today.
The Global Green Growth Institute earnestly supports the UNFCCC in achieving the global
consensus to move forward. GGGI also supports individual countries being mindful of their development
priority and paradigm shift to green growth. Now is the time for leadership and good example. This is
the purpose of GGGI.