Korea University: KU Carbon Neutrality Declaration Ceremony Is Held

On June 21 (Tuesday) at 3:30 pm in the SK Future Hall’s Choi Jong-hyeon Hall, Korea University held the “Before It’s Too Late 2045” Carbon Neutrality Declaration Ceremony to demonstrate its commitment to the implementation of the Carbon-Neutral Action Plan to actively prepare for the climate crisis. The event was attended by internal and external participants, including Han Hwa-jin, Minister of Environment, Ahn Byung-ok, Chairman of Korea Environment Corporation, Park Jae-hyeon, President of K-water, and Lee Sang-hoon, Chairman of Korea Energy Agency.

Korea University members from all levels, including the president, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, declared the concrete action plan, demonstrating their commitment to actively and voluntarily take action to achieve carbon neutrality. Korea University also promised to take the lead in strengthening its carbon-neutral implementation through business agreements with related organizations (Korea Environment Corporation, K-water, and Korea Energy Agency) and expanding these efforts externally.

The business agreements included (1) cooperation to develop and support carbon-neutral policies, (2) cooperation to nurture information/educational personnel for carbon neutrality, (3) cooperation to develop carbon-neutral technologies such as renewable energies and carbon sinks, (4) cooperation to build collaborative networks with international organizations, and (5) other matters deemed necessary for the cooperation of each institution, clarifying the roles of participating organizations in the domestic and international community in achieving carbon neutrality.

At this official event, an MOU on the creation of a carbon-neutral campus was signed, and various members of Korea University took turns to recite the Carbon Neutrality Declaration. As the representatives of Korea University, KU President Chung Jin Taek, Chun In-gee (Department of Sports and Leisure Studies, ‘13), Cha Jun-hwan (Department of International Sports, ‘20), Kim Jeong-ho, CEO of BearBetter, Lim Dae-Woong, Korean Representative of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP/Fi), Lee Hyung-hee, SK SUPEX Council SV Committee Chairman, and Lee Hye-young, Korean Representative of Ashoka, recited the declaration. On behalf of Korea University alumni, Min Nam-gyu, CEO of Jakang Industries, Yeon Man-hee, president of the Health Fellowship Foundation, and Kwon Oh-seop, chairman of L&P Cosmetics, participated in the event.

Ban Ki-moon, Chairman of the Ban Ki-moon Foundation For a Better Future, Han Jeong-ae, Representative member of the National Assembly Forum on Climate Change, Yoo Young-sook, Chairperson of the Climate Change Center, Seung Myung-ho, President of the Korea University Alumni Association, Chey Tae-won, Chairman of the SK Group and others sent messages of support for Korea University’s move toward carbon neutrality.

In the second part of the event, Lee Woo-kyun, Director of OJeong Resilience Institute, gave a presentation titled “Korea University Carbon Neutrality Plan,” on the background of the university’s carbon neutrality initiative, the current status of Korea University’s carbon emissions, its phased and detailed carbon reduction plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, its implementation system, and what can be expected from the initiative. He said that the climate crisis is a warning in response to which carbon neutrality is a step towards action, and emphasized the need for everyone to join the global effort to achieve 2050 NET ZERO.

He said that Korea University currently emits about 100,000 tons of greenhouse gas, and that, although its emissions are decreasing, it is important to lower the base load, which remains high throughout the year. He also added that OJeong Resilience Institute has been conducting research on this matter since last year, has published a detailed action plan, and plans to establish specific goals and strategies for energy independence, ecology, sinks, education, innovation, and startup promotion, and to link carbon neutrality with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria. Korea University aims to reduce its current emissions by about 12% by 2025, when it marks its 120th anniversary, and to ultimately achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. Lastly, he said that, by achieving carbon neutrality, Korea University will be able to provide education consistent with the university’s educational philosophy of freedom, justice and truth, to lead carbon-neutral science and research, to foster global leaders, offer forward-looking education, and even contribute to the global missions of SDGs and ESG.

Director Shin Yong-sun of Korea University announced a more detailed GHG reduction plan at the management level, and students from the environmental protection club “Korea University Saving Environment Project (KUSEP)” and the Division of Environmental Science & Ecological Engineering suggested ways that students can contribute to achieving carbon neutrality..

In his opening remarks, President Chung Jin Taek said, “The 2045 Carbon Neutral Declaration is the first step for Korea University to provide the education programs and infrastructure necessary to nurture talent in the field of carbon neutrality, to respond sensitively to international issues related to energy/water/waste reduction activities, SDG implementation, ESG, and climate change. Thereby, it can lead the development of innovative policies, business models, and action plans enabling governments, businesses, and civil society to achieve carbon neutrality. Korea University will realize campus carbon neutrality through the building of energy efficiency improvement projects, new and renewable energy installation projects, and carbon sink management projects.” He added, “Korea University will take the lead in the development of carbon-neutral technologies by utilizing its world-class research capabilities, and establish and promote a carbon-neutral implementation system that spreads a carbon-neutral culture and implementation by linking its campuses with local communities.”

Environment Minister Han Hwa-jin said, “In September of last year, Korea became the 14th country in the world to legalize carbon neutrality. Korea established the 2050 scenario, a policy compass for carbon neutrality, and announced to the international community its ambitious goal of raising its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to 40% by 2030. In order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 as well as the NDC target by 2030, Korea needs a major economic and social transformation.” She also explained the government’s plan to establish a scientific and feasible implementation plan by March next year, and remarked, “To end the climate crisis, we must adopt a carbon-neutral lifestyle and culture—driving electric and hydrogen cars with blue license plates, enjoying coffee in thermos bottles, and putting eco-friendly products in shopping carts.” She emphasized that the practice of carbon neutrality in daily life can lead to change in our society.

Korea University announced its plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 in connection with SDGs and ESG at the 117th anniversary ceremony on May 5. After more than a year of joint research, Korea University’s administration office and its affiliated research institutes, such as OJeong Resilience Institute and Sustainable Development Research Center, developed a concrete and empirical two-phase carbon-neutral plan. In the first phase, Korea University will reduce its GHG emissions by 40% by 2030 through energy saving and efficiency measures. In the second phase, it will realize energy conversion and the stable supply and demand of energy by building solar power and hydrogen fuel cell facilities, and microgrids by 2045.

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