With the American election of President Biden and his strong moves towards a carbon-neutral energy policy, there is a great opportunity for collaboration between Korean the United States in both addressing climate change and creating new green energy jobs. President Biden’s election was widely welcomed across South Korea because of his clean-energy platform. 

As one member of the Korean National Assembly wrote recently, “If the United States becomes a solar and wind powerhouse, it will drive down emissions and create jobs. If Biden prioritizes the 2035 net-zero target for America’s utilities and helps offshore wind power take off, it will be a global game-changer for renewable energy, making the U.S. very fertile ground for more investment and jobs.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed an ambitious climate change approach that would replace coal with renewable energy. The hope is that new technologies will transform the clean energy sector much that they did the information sector over the past 30 years. Some Korean economists predict that new technologies that harvest energy from solar and wind power will literally change the world, potentially eclipsing the mobile phone and internet revolutions. These solutions to climate change that are within our grasps will slow the damage to the planet from fossil-fuel-driven energy sources. 

The United States and Korea share some similar natural resources that will enable this new approach in carbon-neutral energy solutions, including offshore wind. If President Biden continues to make offshore wind a priority, it could generate more than 2,000 gigawatts of electricity. That’s more than double the current national consumption, and would create significant numbers of new jobs while meeting clean energy goals. 

Traditional energy sources, including coal production, will continue to decline across the United States as well as Korea. Renewable energy sources, especially solar and wind, will fill the energy gap as those industries decline. Korean leaders have already proposed energy revolution policies that will play an impactful role in financing these new approaches, and promise to transform the Korean economy. 

As coal industries in other large economies begin to collapse, and solar and wind energy in particular fill the gap, energy revolution policies are an inevitable choice for South Korea’s government to play a catalytic role in green finance. One proposal allows Koreans to invest directly in projects that would help transform the economy, with government and banking institutions providing a protection against risk. The hope is that with the public able to benefit directly, it will make these programs that much more popular. 

While green financing in Korea is still in its early stages, Korean observers say that collaboration between the U.S. and Korea could pay off for both countries.