Working Together on Energy and Climate Change

Last week I was delighted to welcome Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall to Seoul.  Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall served as the U.S. Co-Chair for the April 14 High Level Bilateral Commission (HLBC), which manages U.S.-ROK civil nuclear cooperation under the 123 Agreement.  Together with our ROK partners, the U.S. Government is working to advance the safe use of nuclear power and find innovative ways to meet global energy needs.  We are also studying how our two countries can address the challenges of climate change.
Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall with Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul at the HLBC meeting in Seoul
The HLBC is a great example of our strong cooperation in nuclear energy, and it will help us further our progress in addressing climate change and clean energy development.  We are using the very best of our creative energies to achieve this policy outcome.  Clean energy and energy security are clearly important components of our bilateral relationship and are priorities of our two Presidents.  Innovation will help drive green growth and is a key factor in realizing President Park’s vision of a “creative economy.”  This, in turn will benefit both business and the environment.
The slogan "FOR THE PLANET" was projected on the Eiffel Tower as part of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference on Dec. 11, 2015. (AP photo)
The Paris Agreement was adopted at the 2015 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to reduce the effects of climate change globally.  This landmark agreement will be signed in New York City on April 22, 2016, to coincide with Earth Day.  Minister of Environment Yoon Seong-kyu and Climate Change Ambassador Choi Jai-Chul will sign the Paris Agreement on behalf of the Republic of Korea.  I look forward to meeting the Korean delegation when they return, and congratulating them on their part in this historic agreement.
I care deeply about tackling climate change and taking steps to limit carbon emission now to prevent more negative effects in the future.  Climate change affects us all, and doing nothing will lead to more frequent and severe droughts, crop failures, water shortages, famine, and outbreaks of disease.  The scientific data showing how climate change puts our lives and livelihoods at risk is irrefutable.  We must never forget why the Paris Agreement is so important:  it lays out a commitment to reduce man’s impact on the environment and preserve the earth for future generations.
For future generations, including Sejun!
Let me add that President Obama is proposing to increase U.S. government investment in clean energy research and development (R&D) by 21 percent in 2017, to $5.85 billion through an initiative called Mission Innovation.  South Korea was one of the 20 founding member countries, and is committed to doubling its investment in clean energy R&D.  As you can see, our two nations are committed through our actions and our investments to promote clean energy and tackle climate change.  We are truly building a better future together. 

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