At the COP21 meeting in Paris in 2015, 195 countries agreed to keep global warming below 2°C above preindustrial levels. To reach this target, the world will need to cut energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 60% by 2050 even as the population grows by more than two billion people. This requires a dramatic increase in energy efficiency, and a transition to renewable-energy sources and low-carbon energy carriers. In 2019, the Hydrogen Council—a consortium of 18 companies in the automotive, oil and gas, industrial gas, and equipment industries—presented their vision on how hydrogen can contribute to achieving ambitious climate targets. The council considers hydrogen as an enabler for the transition to a renewable-energy system, and a cleanenergy carrier for a wide range of applications. If serious efforts are made to limit global warming to 2°C, the council estimates that hydrogen could contribute around one-fifth of total abatement needs by 2050.
South Korea is vying to win the race to create the first hydrogen-powered society. It wants to build three hydrogen-powered cities by 2022 to position itself as a leader in green technology. In December 2019, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism in South Korea announced that they chose the cities of Ansan, Ulsan, Wanjua, and Jeonju as candidate cities for the hydrogen economy, and Samcheok to specialize in research and development of hydrogen technology. The government plan calls for an investment of US$ 25 million for each of the three candidate cities, half of which will be paid by regional governments.