South Korea confirms 30% carbon reduction target by 2020

Government says new carbon trading scheme will be critical to meeting climate targets by end of decade

(Pic: Jimmy McIntyre/HDR One Magazine)

(Pic: Jimmy McIntyre/HDR One Magazine)

South Korea remains on course to meet its target of a 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, according to new data from the Ministry of Environment.

It says the total reduction in climate warming greenhouse gases will be equivalent to 233 million tonnes.

Specifically, the country plans transportation emission cuts of 34.3%, 26.9% in the building sector, 26.7% from power generation, 25.0% in the public sector, 18.5% in industry, 12.3% from waste and 5.2% in agriculture and fishery.

“The new roadmap maintains the same Business As Usual (BAU) and reduction target declared by the government on July 12, 2011 and reduction strategies and measures by 7 sectors such as industry, building and transportation,” the Ministry says.

In a statement it adds that South Korea’s proposed carbon trading scheme will allow the country to “minimize emissions reduction cost and alleviate the industry’s burden” when following this strategy.

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is set to come into force in 2015, and is a major plank in the government’s ‘Green Growth’ strategy of accelerating development while reducing its carbon footprint.

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When it comes into force next year it is expected to initially cover more than 500 businesses classed as high emitters.

Participating companies are likely to get all of their initial emission permit allocations for free in the first two years. From 2021 10% will be auctioned.

To ensure progress towards a low carbon economy continues, the Ministry also says it plans to appoint an ‘emissions inspector’, ‘GHG control engineer’ and ‘emissions permit trader’.

It also says it will conduct campaigns calling on people to wear cool clothing in summer and warm clothing in winter, and also run what it calls an ‘Eco-friendly Transportation Campaign’.

South Korea is fast developing a reputation as a global leader in the green sector.

Following the global financial crisis in 2008, South Korea’s stimulus package was widely seen as the “greenest” with up to 69% of the spending on “green” projects (such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grids).

The city of Songdu hosts the UN-backed Green Climate Fund, which has been created to drive investment in low carbon projects around the world.

Last October the city of Suwon went car free for 30 days. During this period, roads were cordoned off, and the only vehicles allowed were those which did not consume fossil fuels.

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