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[Busan Is Ready] Busan Expo strives to present climate change solutions

Oct. 11, 2023 - 14:07 By Lee Jung-youn
A view of Oceanix Busan, which will be constructed in seas off Busan's North Port by 2030 (Oceanix)

Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city and largest port city, which is competing to host the 2030 World Expo, is seeking innovative eco-friendly solutions against climate change.

With the theme of the potential 2030 Busan World Expo set to be "Sustainable living with nature," the central government and Busan Metropolitan Government have expressed the ambition for a plastic-free, eco-friendly event.

The venue of the 2030 Busan World Expo will be composed of eco-friendly elements. It will deploy hydrogen electric buses that were used during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Hydrogen trams and hydrogen taxis will connect the main venue and popular tourist attractions.

In seas in front of the venue, a floating island in the North Port of Busan will be presented as a solution to climate change, as the world’s first prototype of a sustainable floating island. "Oceanix Busan" is to be an alternative life model for climate refugees who have faced threats due to rising sea levels. It is a maritime city project promoted by the city of Busan, the UN-Habitat Settlements Program and Oceanix, a US company that designs sustainable cities.

The island will consist of three floating platforms and bridges connecting them to land. With a total size of 6.3 hectares, it is expected to accommodate up to 12,000 people. A lifestyle that minimizes environmental pollution will be adopted, producing all the energy needed with solar panels and recycling most resources, including water.

The design of the floating island will be completed by 2026 and construction will kick off the following year, regardless of the result of the World Expo bid, the city explained.

Another ambition of the Busan World Expo is a "no single-use plastic" policy, which has never been implemented at a World Expo before.

"The 2030 Busan International Expo will revolve around the 'No single-use plastic' agenda. We want to show our commitment to an eco-friendly and sustainable future," presidential envoy Jang Sung-min told a press briefing in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sept. 8, after attending the Africa Climate Summit from Sept. 4 to 6.

Even before the World Expo bid, Busan has been building strategies to respond to climate change and become an eco-friendly city. In April 2022, the city government set a goal of "Global Climate Leadership City, Carbon Neutral City Busan," and announced that by 2030 it would reduce carbon emissions by 47 percent compared to the 2018 level. The city aims to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

Busan is seeking to transform itself into an eco-friendly city through solar power facilities, offshore wind power complexes, green remodeling of public buildings and expanding the supply of electric and hydrogen cars. It also plans to expand the creation of green spaces such as urban forests and arboretums, which are sources of carbon absorption.

In July last year, the city government enacted the Basic Ordinance on Carbon Neutral Green Growth to lay the institutional foundation. By 2030, the government plans to create a climate response fund of 100 billion won ($74 million).