□ On March 31st (Wed), the Korean government virtually held the 16th Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology, connecting Government Complex Seoul and Government Complex Sejong. The meeting was presided by Choi Kiyoung, Minister of Science and ICT, and finalized the 『technology innovation strategy for carbon neutral』.
□ With climate crisis becoming the reality, as highlighted by a rise in climate disasters, the international community has been setting its goals to ‘2050 carbon neutral’, strengthening its commitment to combatting climate change.
ㅇ To keep up with the efforts by the international community, the Korean government announced “2050 Carbon Neutral Strategy” in December last year to move toward Korea’s 2050 carbon neutral goals.
□ The ‘2050 Carbon Neutral’ is a challenge to Korea, given the fact that the Korean economy is dependent on coal development and the manufacturing sector. The innovation strategy was established recognizing that technology innovation is more important and urgent than anything in reaching the 2050 goals.
□ The technology innovation strategy has the vision of driving the 2050 carbon neutral in Korea through technology innovations. The strategy has the five main action plans* to provide strong life cycle support, including developing key technologies through collaborations of all ministries and "creating an innovation environment" where new technologies receive commercialization support so that they can drive reducing carbon emissions.
* Technology development: ① Developing 10 key technologies for carbon-neutral technology innovation, ② Planning and promoting R&D projects engaging all ministries
Ecosystem creation: ③ Intensive support for the creation of new industries, ④ Private-led low-carbon conversion, ⑤ Sustainable research foundation
【Development of key technologies】
❶ Being strategic in securing the 10 key technologies to achieve carbon neutrality
ㅇ The 10 key technologies and strategies to obtain them were set by reflecting urgent industrial demands, and assessing issues facing each area, contribution levels in greenhouse gas emissions, relativeness to major industries based on the Long-term low greenhouse gas Emission Development Strategies (LEDS).
- For each of the key technologies, current status and issues will be analyzed and detailed technical goals by 2050 and achievement strategies will be prepared so that they can be used as a blueprint for carbon neutral research activities to come.
- In particular, along with the strategies regarding technology development and policy support measures were set, to focus on increasing the commercialization possibilities.
❷ Planning and promoting R&D initiatives engaging all ministries on time
ㅇ Based on the strategic plans to secure the 10 key technologies, the innovation strategy encourages all ministries to come together for the two-track life cycle support with R&D focused on the fields to meet the urgent industry demands, and R&D for mid-to-long-term sources of innovation to prepare for the future.
ㅇ Field-focused low carbon R&D initiatives have the goal of rapidly replacing large carbon emitter processing and products in each industry. Relevant ministries will plan and execute new R&D initiatives in the industries and areas they are responsible for.
- In the industry sectors that are considered large emitters such as steel, cement, petrochemical, semiconductor display, large-scale R&D projects will be planned to develop and apply new processing methods for carbon neutral and support for key technology development will be provided to each area such as eco-friendly vehicles, railways, vessels, carbon neutral cities.
ㅇ R&D for mid-to-long-term sources of innovation has the goal of continuously developing source technologies that are challenging to develop and provide them to all areas.
- R&D investments for basic carbon neutral technologies will be expanded and at the same time, a research team of the best experts from the private sector will be created to plan projects for the 10 key technology innovations and provide intensive support. The plans are to apply for preliminary feasibility studies for the projects aiming to start them in 2023.
- Also, relevant ministries will jointly plan R&D initiatives to advance and commercialize rising source technologies such as the hydrogen economy, CCUS, and plastic-free. They start the initiatives in earnest starting from 2022.
ㅇ Across all areas, energy efficiency will be improved by applying Korea’s leading ICT to each area.
- Throughout the whole cycle of energy – generation, distribution, consumption – ICT will be applied to electricity generation, buildings, factories and, cities to develop and demonstrate intelligent management systems by unit technology. Also, technology development supports will be provided for the ICT industry’s large energy consumers such as data centers to maximize energy efficiencies.
【Creating an innovation ecosystem】
❸ Creating a focused-care system where carbon neural technologies create new industries
ㅇ First, to encourage the commercialization of new technologies, the regulation sandbox will be expanded through the special regulation zones and R&D special zones, more support will go to technology demonstration and commercialization and systemic life cycle support will be made – support for carbon neutral start-ups→ connection to purchase demands from the public → expanded green fund support.
❹ Supporting private-led low carbon neutral technology innovations
ㅇ A roadmap for commercialization promotion will be prepared to help businesses overcome the low profitability of low carbon technologies and successfully settle in the market in the early phase, and the system for standard/certification systems and technology regulations/standards will be established promptly as they are needed for businesses to provide their technologies to the fields and make contributions to carbon emission reduction after a market launching.
ㅇ Also, measures to attract private investments will be sought such as tax exemption for carbon neutral R&D, business matching investments and reduced technology fee burden.
❺ Making stronger research capacities and foundations for continued technology innovation
ㅇThe strategy focusses creating a pool of carbon neutral experts to handle demands from the industries and the world’s leading researchers, expanding education programs and exhibitions through science centers, and celebrating April, the month of Science with the campaign called ‘Tantandaero’ (carbon neutral, carbon neutral, Korea on the science and technology road).
ㅇAlso, through establishing a technology development promotion act to combat climate change and a climate change addressing fund, a stable administrational and financial system foundation will be made.
【 Plans 】
□ According to the innovation strategy, the relevant ministries will plan carbon neutral R&D initiatives in the first half of this year and reflect them in the 2022 government budget plans and for large-scale R&D initiatives, relevant ministries will seek to apply for preliminary feasibility studies before the end of this year.
ㅇ All the policy assignments will start to get executed before the end of the year to generate early achievements in carbon neutral technology. The assignments will be continuously updated and improved, reflecting changes in technology, industries and environment during the process.
□ Minister of Science and ICT Choi Kiyoung said that “the MSIT has proactively prepared the innovation strategy by assessing what the ministries can collectively do as there are many technology innovation challenges facing our economy and society when it comes to achieving the 2050 carbon neutral goals” and “the MSIT (Ministry of Science and ICT) will closely cooperate with relevant ministries to make sure the initiatives and system support under the innovation strategy can be executed and provided as planned, leading to the emergence of consequential new technologies that can remarkably reduce carbon emissions in the fields, realizing a carbon neutral country”.