Honorable President Biden,
This evening, on Earth Day, the Korean people turned their lights off for ten minutes and heeded the whispers of the earth. I hope that the warm support of Koreans will reach out to all the countries that are in the fight against climate change together.
As we embark on the implementation of the Paris Agreement this year, President Biden has exerted global leadership by rejoining the Paris Agreement and hosting this Leaders Summit on Climate. I express my deepest respect to the President and his administration for all their hard work.
The people of Korea, amidst the challenges posed by COVID-19 last year, set the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and are now working to put together detailed scenarios. Today, on behalf of the Korean people, I am deeply pleased to make two pledges for achieving carbon neutrality.
First, the Republic of Korea will further raise our Nationally Determined Contribution for 2030 and submit it to the United Nations within this year. Last year, we replaced our previous reduction target based on BAU with an absolute target of cutting 24.4% from 2017 emissions level, making it our first upward adjustment. Now, in a strong aspiration to reach net zero emissions by 2050, we plan to enhance our NDC once again. Korea reached peak greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, and in the ensuing two-year period from 2019 to 2020, reduced more than 10% of emissions from 2018 level.
Second, Korea will end all public financing for new overseas coal-fired power plants. Since the launch of my government, Korea has stopped issuing permits for building new domestic coal power plants, shut down ten aged units earlier than scheduled and, as a result, drastically reduced its reliance on coal for power generation. Instead, we are swiftly moving to ramp up the production of renewable energy such as solar and wind power.
To become carbon neutral, it is imperative for the world to scale down coal-fired power plants. Yet, developing countries that will struggle due to their heavy dependence on coal should be given due consideration and access to proper support. On the domestic front as well, we need countermeasures for addressing the negative impacts to related industries, businesses, and jobs, among others. With a view to promoting investment in renewable energy facilities, both in and outside Korea, we will actively seek to scale up green finance.
In coming May, the second P4G Summit will be held in Seoul. Member countries, civil society, industries as well as other diverse partners will come together to accelerate the vision of carbon neutrality for humanity. As a host, Korea will exert every effort to prepare for the summit that inspires an actionable vision and stronger cooperation. I ask for your keen interest and participation so that the second P4G Summit becomes a stepping-stone to a successful COP26 this coming November.