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12 December 2022

The driving forces behind the green transition in Europe and South Korea

A comparison between the European Green Deal and the Korean Green New Deal

The driving forces behind the green transition in Europe and South Korea


The climate and energy crises have dominated global headlines in 2022. As confirmed by world leaders at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, transitioning our economies away from fossil fuels and mobilising green investments is key to both alleviating the climate crisis and helping economies regain their energy sovereignty.

To this end, many countries worldwide have committed to becoming carbon neutral by the middle of the century or shortly thereafter. Furthermore, many countries have seen the emergence of Green New Deal narratives that seek to reconcile environmental and climate policies with economic growth in the aftermath of the economic crises triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Union presented its Green Deal in December 2019, followed by South Korea’s Green New Deal in July 2020. The U.S. is also planning massive public expenditure via a 10-year green transition investment program through the Inflation Reduction Law enacted in August 2022.

This report, supported by the Korea Foundation, provides an in-depth description, comparative assessment, and qualitative evaluation of the EU Green Deal and the Korean Green New Deal. It also provides policy proposals for reinvigorating the Korean Green New Deal based on lessons learnt
from Europe.

We hope that this report will be useful not only for South Korea, which committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, but also for policymakers in other countries that are contemplating green strategies.

Key findings

  1. Effective Green Deal policies are based on strong policy leadership, adequate financial endowment, and concrete legal competencies.

    To reconcile climate policies with economic growth, the strategies must be established as a top priority among other policies. Large-scale governmental funding must be mobilised with adequate financial instruments to shift investments towards a green transition. Planning, implementation and evaluation of the strategy must be enshrined in law.

  2. The European Green Deal (EGD) and the Korean Green New Deal (KGND) establish green policies at the core of a new growth strategy, while differing in detailed policies and long-term roadmaps.

    The EGD is a clear long-term green transition framework strengthening the mid-and long-term climate ambitions and including a just transition mechanism. The KGND is a more short-term strategy only up to 2025 based mostly on already existing measures without concrete sectoral roadmaps.

  3. To support the implementation of its net-zero commitment by 2050, Korea should reinvigorate its Green New Deal framework.

    The KGND has been an important framework for streamlining and strengthening Korea’s climate ambitions. The KGND has also encouraged the mobilisation of public finance into the green transition. However, the framework is yet to be sufficiently reinvigorated by the government that took office in May 2022.

  4. The Korean Green New Deal requires a broader institutional and organizational foundation.

    The KGND must be anchored under the direct responsibility of the President of Korea. Inspired by the EGD, the KGND needs a set of adequate policy measures, such as cross-sectoral roadmaps and regulatory instruments including an assessment mechanism of the level of required investments.

Bibliographical data

Claudio Baccianti, Kwanghee Yeom, Dimitri Pescia (all Aogra Energiewende)
Publication number
Version number
Publication date

12 December 2022

Suggested Citation
Agora Energiewende (2022): The driving forces behind the green transition in Europe and South Korea - A comparison between the European Green Deal and the Korean Green New Deal.
This publication was produced within the framework of the project Korean Green New Deal.


All figures in this publication

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