Solutions for Our Climate, Climate Transparency and the German Embassy in Seoul hold an online event on 27 January 2021:

“Beyond Coal – Towards Net-Zero Emissions: South Korea and Germany Share Experiences”

South Korea and Germany face similar challenges when it comes to the transformation of their energy systems. Both countries have pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2050, which will require an ambitious coal phase-out and fast-paced growth in renewables and other low-carbon technologies. In both, hydrogen is seen to be a critical component in their future energy systems.

In the wake of President Moon Jae-in’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 on 28 October 2020, the South Korean government plans to enhance its 2030 climate target and to develop carbon neutrality strategies for different sectors in 2021. This is catalyzing a national debate on when to exit coal and how to manage a just transition. In November 2020, the National Council on Climate and Air Quality (NCCA) recommended that South Korea should exit coal before 2045 and possibly before 2040 in order to achieve the net-zero emissions target by 2050.

Germany has also committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and has already made some progress on coal phase out plans. Germany reached a consensus to phase out coal by 2038 (at the latest) in 2019, following extensive negotiations with representatives from mining regions, business and industry, trade unions, the federal parliament, civil society, and academia. This decision was put into law in June 2020. The country also published a national hydrogen strategy focusing on green hydrogen in 2020.

This online event will bring together high-level government representatives, business, think tanks, and NGOs from South Korea, Germany, and other countries to discuss:

  • What does a net-zero emissions pledge mean for the power sector?
  • What role can green hydrogen play to accelerate the energy transition?
  • How can we collaborate in our common aim to decarbonize the power sector?

AGENDA

Facilitator: Younghwan Chun, Professor, Hongik University


16.00-16.10 WELCOME
Michael Reiffenstuel, German Ambassador to South Korea
Sunghwan Kim, National Assembly Member, South Korea
Wonyoung Yangyi, National Assembly Member, South Korea

16.10-16.20 A GLOBAL SHIFT AWAY FROM COAL 
Hannah Schindler, Senior Project Coordinator, Climate Transparency

16.20-16.50 SOUTH KOREA’S PLANS TO ACHIEVE NET-ZERO EMISSIONS IN THE POWER SECTOR
This session will discuss the challenges to reach consensus on a coal phase-out date and explore the role that green hydrogen can play in transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy.

Recommendations for Korea’s plan for a coal phase-out
Dr. Changhoon Lee, Chief Research Fellow, Korea Environment Institute

Role of the power sector in rapid decarbonization of the country: Suggestions for a coal phase-out and the usage of hydrogen
Jeehye Park, Director, Solutions for Our Climate

Q&A

16.50-17.20 EXPERIENCES FROM GERMANY’S COAL PHASE-OUT AND HYDROGEN POLICIES
This session will draw lessons from Germany’s coal phase-out decision process, as well as its hydrogen policy.

Insights from Germany’s coal commission and coal legislation
Philipp Litz, Project Manager “International Coal Transition”, Agora Energiewende

Germany’s National Hydrogen Strategy 2020
Ulrich Benterbusch, Deputy Director-General, Efficiency and Heat in Industry and Households, Sustainable Mobility, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany

Q&A

17.20-18.00 PANEL DISCUSSION: HOW TO PHASE OUT COAL AND INCREASE THE USE OF GREEN HYDROGEN TO DECARBONIZE KOREA’S ECONOMY?

Suktae Hwang, Deputy Minister of Living Environment Policy Office, Ministry of
Environment
Youngjoon Joo, Deputy Minister for Energy and Resources, Ministry of Trade, Industry
and Energy
Donghun Oh, Head of the Climate and Environment Department, Korea Midland Power
Co.
Dr. Jae Kyeung Kim, Korea Energy Economics Institute
Sangbok Lee, Journalist, Energy and Environment News

18.00-18.15 Q&A AND SUMMARY