South Korea backs Morrison’s technology ambitions to help solve climate change crisis

By Melissa Coade

Monday November 1, 2021

Korea and Australia have entered into an agreement to work together on the development of low- and zero-emissions technologies.
Korea and Australia have entered into an agreement to work together on the development of low- and zero-emissions technologies. (EPA/YONHAP SOUTH KOREA OUT)

The Republic of Korea (ROK) has got on board Australia’s ‘technology-led approach’ to addressing climate change, entering an agreement for both nations to work together on the development of low- and zero-emissions technologies. 

Under the deal, both countries have agreed to collaborate on projects including clean hydrogen and clean ammonia supply, low-emissions iron ore and steel, hydrogen-fuelled-cell electric vehicles, and hydrogen power generation. Carbon capture, use and storage projects will also be a focus of the agreement, as well as energy storage, solar and the minerals supply chain

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison issued a statement on Sunday announcing the new partnership had been agreed to with the ROK president Moon Jae-in during bilateral talks at the G20 summit in Rome. 

“Together, we share the ambition of accelerating the development and commercialisation of low and zero-emissions technologies, both existing and emerging, to achieve cost parity with high-emitting technologies as soon as possible,” Morrison said. 

“The partnership also commits us to advancing technologies and trade systems for hydrogen supply, low-emissions steel and iron ore, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage as early priorities.

Australia’s deal with the ROK was brokered by the government’s special adviser on low emissions technology, Alan Finkel, with the goal of securing bilateral partnerships that align with the goals of Australia’s technology investment roadmap

A federal commitment of $565.8 million has already been made to build new international partnerships to develop technologies of this kind and ‘drive investment’ in Australia-based projects

“Australia and the Republic of Korea will work together to provide funding in accordance with their respective domestic processes to support research and development, and pilot, trial, and demonstrate projects in priority focus areas, with a view to supporting accelerated commercialisation of low and zero-emissions technologies over the medium term,” Morrison said.

“Initiatives supported under this partnership will be industry-led and leverage additional financial contributions from the private sector, subnational governments and other sources.”

The partnership with ROK builds on similar agreements with Indonesia, Germany, Singapore, Japan and the UK, and was an example of Australia finding ‘tangible, practical outcomes’ to achieve a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

Angus Taylor, minister for industry, energy and emissions reduction, said that under the agreement, the ROK planned to support research on hydrogen supply chains for South Korean and Australian companies.

“Getting new energy technologies to parity with higher-emitting alternatives will enable substantial reductions in global emissions,” Taylor said. 

“Australia and the Republic of Korea share the ambition of advancing the development and commercialisation of low and zero-emissions technologies so they can achieve cost parity with high-emitting technologies as soon as possible.”

South Korea is Australia’s fourth-largest trading partner and a major buyer of Australian resources and energy, including iron ore, coal and LNG. Scott Morrison said that partnering with a country like the ROK would position the greater region as leaders on low emissions technologies.

“The partnership recognises our shared commitment to an ambitious, technology-led approach that will achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement by ensuring we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also growing our economies and creating jobs,” Morrison said. 

“In preparation for the opening of this partnership, the Korean government has decided to support research on hydrogen supply chains between Korean and Australian companies this year.

“Australia will work closely with Korea in this effort, while also pursuing a low emissions steel and iron ore initiative that looks to reduce emissions across the supply chain,” he said.


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