EU and South Korea partner on energy efficiency and green mobility

EU and South Korea partner on energy efficiency and green mobility
The South Korea-EU Green Partnership was announced in Seoul, South Korea. Image Courtesy European Commission.

The European Union and the Republic of Korea have established a Green Partnership to cooperate across various aspects of the green transition, including developing low-carbon energy resources.

Established after the conclusion of the G7 Summit in Japan, the collaboration aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation on climate change, clean energy and the energy transition.

The partnership was launched in Seoul, South Korea, during the EU-Korea Summit by Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and Korean president, Yoon Suk Yeol.

Both parties reaffirm with this partnership their commitment to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C and reach climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. Additionally, both sides reiterated their commitment to their respective 2030 targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions.

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Specifically, the partnership will focus on the following areas:

  • Supporting a clean and fair energy transition by intensifying cooperation on renewable energies, energy efficiency, renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, batteries and green mobility, Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and a just transition away from unabated coal-fired power generation;
  • Working with third countries to facilitate their green transition, notably in the area of climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience, the clean and fair energy transition and circular economy;
  • Strengthening efforts on combatting climate change, including cooperation on climate adaptation, carbon pricing, methane emissions and climate finance;
  • Joining forces in other areas such as business cooperation, sustainable finance, research & innovation, sustainable food systems, sustainability and resilience of our supply chains as well as employment and the social dimension of the green transition;
  • Increasing cooperation on environmental issues, including but not limited to biodiversity loss, forest degradation and deforestation, circular economy and the full life cycle of plastics, as well as the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

International cooperation amid turbulent waters

Alongside the partnership, the two have also agreed to promote international climate action and have stated a commitment to cooperate to support developing countries and emerging economies with the implementation of their climate and environmental policies.

The partnership was announced a day after the Group of Seven (G7) Summit, whereby G7 leaders acknowledged the importance of new incentives, industrial policies and public as well as private investments.

According to a Washington-issued release, “leaders committed to work together to ensure regulations and investments will make clean energy technologies more affordable for all nations and help drive a global, just energy transition for workers and communities that will leave no one behind.”

During the announcement of the partnership, on the back of the Summit, Von der Leyen commented on the significance of the partnership, which will strengthen EU-South Korean ties as Russia continues its offensive against Ukraine.

“It is wonderful to experience this true friendship. It is heart-warming and I think our people need it in these troubled times in the changing world… We defend together for as long as it takes, Ukraine’s attempt to secure the UN Charter and their fight for the respect for international law as we stand by your side in these difficult times under constant threat on the peninsula.”

According to Reuters reportage, results from the G7 Summit were a tightening of sanctions against Russia and a discussed need to reduce reliance on trade with China.

Green Partnerships are set up as bilateral frameworks to enhance dialogue and cooperation with key EU partners. According to the European Commission, they are comprehensive forms of bilateral engagement established under the European Green Deal.

The first Green Partnership was established with Morocco ahead of COP 27 in October 2022.

Said Von der Leyen: “The EU and the Republic of Korea share the ambition of a climate-neutral future. The launch of our Green Partnership will help us towards that goal. We will now work on the convergence in key areas and deepen cooperation on strategic, clean energy projects. Because it is good for our supply chains, good for our competitiveness and good for the planet.”