In 2009, South Korea did something remarkable. The country poured 2% of its GDP, some $38.1 billion, into environmental projects, hoping to create one million green jobs over the next five years. The goal was to spur growth in a slumping economy while simultaneously creating a low carbon society. In one sense, the plan worked. South Korea’s economic system did eventually recover, but in a more important sense, the plan failed. From 2009 to 2014, Korea’s emissions rose 11.8%. So, despite massive investments in clean energy, railway expansion, and energy efficiency, South Korea’s emissions still climbed.
So what happened? Why didn’t South Korea’s green growth strategy work? The video below (by Our Changing Climate) will answer that question and more in order to understand one of the insidious spectres that haunts the green energy revolution: consumption.