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S. Korea to establish 'Green Technology Center' to speed up green growth
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South Korea will establish a new think tank that oversees the country's "green growth" drive aimed at seeking economic growth by boosting environment-friendly technologies and industries, a presidential committee said Thursday.

The "Green Technology Center," set to launch in March, will coordinate and support green growth policies of related ministries and agencies and help boost cooperation between research centers home and abroad, the Presidential Committee on Green Growth said.

The committee was to report the center's establishment to President Lee Myung-bak on Thursday.

A task force comprising the top researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Korea Institute of Energy Research has been working on the establishment, it said.

The move underscores South Korea's commitment to green growth, one of President Lee's trademark policies. It calls for lessening South Korea's dependence on fossil fuels and promoting the development of alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and other technologies that increase energy efficiency.

Lee believes the strategy will provide South Korea with fresh growth engines for its economy and help the country -- one of the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters -- reduce its emission of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases amid growing calls to curb global warming.

The committee said South Korea has made major progress in its efforts to catch up with developed countries with advanced green technologies thanks in large part to the sharp increase in the country's investment in research and development.

The R&D budget rose to 3 trillion won this year from 2 trillion won in 2009.

South Korea's "green technology" levels in 27 key areas are now 77.7 percent those of advanced nations, compared with 50.9 percent in 2009, the committee said. The number of areas where South Korea has technology levels at least 80 percent of those of advanced nations also rose to five from just one in 2009, it said.

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Source: Yonhap News (Jan. 26, 2012)

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