On 4 February 2021, officials from the European Union and the Republic of Korea discussed their respective efforts and prospects for further deepened bilateral cooperation in order to boost their transition to climate/carbon neutrality (net-zero GHG emissions), sustainable and resource-efficient economies by 2050 at the third meeting of the European Union (EU) - Republic of Korea Working Group on Energy, Environment and Climate Change.
The EU and the Republic of Korea exchanged views on how to deliver domestically and globally on their shared commitment to climate neutrality by 2050. The EU briefed about the implementation of the European Green Deal, while the Republic of Korea presented its Green New Deal and measures to achieve the recently announced carbon neutrality by 2050. The EU and the Republic of Korea acknowledged the fruitful policy dialogue sessions on different elements of the respective Green Deals held in July and October 2020. They committed to continue this policy dialogue under the Working Group framework by focusing on specific issues of mutual interest under the respective green policy initiatives and confirmed that climate, energy and environment policies have to be addressed holistically, in the light of the interdependence of challenges, as showcased for example by the problem of air quality. Both parties agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the sectors covered by the joint Working Group to explore practical solutions to achieve respective targets of climate/carbon neutrality (net-zero GHG emissions) by mid-century.
The session on environment highlighted commonalities in the EU and the Republic of Korea’s approaches to circular economy and both agreed to explore specific cooperation opportunities, for example in relation to an ambitious and realistic post-2020 global biodiversity framework, green urban infrastructure and processes that drive the green transition. On multilateral issues, the EU and the Republic of Korea have agreed to work together towards an ambitious outcome at the United Nations Environment Assembly 5, and to enhance cooperation with the G7 and in the G20 and other international fora.
With the green recovery in mind, the discussions on energy focused on progress towards increasing the share of renewable energy, including the offshore renewable energy in the energy mix - better achieved by also improving energy efficiency. In this context, both parties recognised the importance of enhancing the role of hydrogen in the future energy mix, also acknowledging the potential of renewable hydrogen to decarbonise hard-to-abate industries. The EU and the Republic of Korea also concurred on the need for flexible, liquid and transparent global liquefied natural gas markets to accompany the transition and agreed to cooperate further. The EU and the Republic of Korea will promote their shared positions on the clean energy transition and respective commitments to climate/carbon neutrality (net-zero GHG emissions) by 2050 in multilateral frameworks such as the G20.
As regards the fight against climate change, the EU and the Republic of Korea stressed their strong commitment to further deepening cooperation both in the bilateral and international contexts. They reaffirmed their commitment to implement the Paris Agreement fully and updated each other on the progress made in this respect, in particular on the submission of more ambitious NDCs and Long Term Strategies in line with the Paris Agreement. They also agreed that global ambition needs to be enhanced in order to stay within the goals of the Paris Agreement and to respond to the latest scientific findings, including the IPCC 1.5 degrees Celsius report. They briefed each other on their respective expectations and ambitions for the Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 and agreed to work together towards its success. In this regard, the EU and the ROK stressed that the 2nd P4G Seoul Summit to be held in May 2021 will be an important occasion to encourage the world to shift to a more inclusive, green recovery and strengthen the political will of leaders to achieve carbon neutrality, and are willing to work together towards its success.
The EU referred to opportunities for policy dialogue and technical cooperation on climate change and energy.
This third meeting took place this year via videoconference link. The Working Group was established in 2018 under the Framework Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Korea. It constitutes a forum for deepened dialogue on energy, environmental and climate change issues in the context of the clean energy transition and the green recovery.
The EU delegation, which involved representatives of the European Commission Directorates-General for Climate Action, Energy and Environment, was led by Deputy Managing Director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the European External Action Service Ms Paola Pampaloni and the ROK delegation was led by Director-General for Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Scientific Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Chung Keeyong.
The next meeting of the EU-Republic of Korea Working Group on Energy, Environment and Climate Change will be held within a year in Seoul.