Climate Action

Korea targeting 30 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2020

Ministry of Environment outlines new blueprint for emissions reduction policies in main industry sectors

  • 30 January 2014
  • William Brittlebank

The Republic of Korea's government is aiming to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent from projected levels by 2020, the Ministry of Environment said Tuesday.

The Ministry outlined plans to reduce 233 million carbon dioxide equivalent tonnes by 2020, a 30 per cent cut from the expected 2020 levels of 776 million tCO2e, according to MOE officials.

The former administration of President Lee Myung-bak originally set the target in 2011 and officials said the new blueprint features more detailed reduction policies and measures for seven different sectors.

Target reduction rates are 18.5 per cent for industry; 26.7 per cent for energy conversion and generation; 26.9 for the building sector; 34.3 per cent for transportation; and 25 per cent for the public sector.

In 2014 the environment authorities plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5.1 per cent to 65.9 billion tCO2e, from the expected 69.4 billion tCO2e.

The ministry have predicted that the the plan could help generate about 3,000 environment-related jobs through 2020.

South Korea, the ninth-highest producer of carbon emissions, has been reviewing the previous version of the greenhouse gas reduction plan due to a hike in gas emissions in 2010. The increase was the largest in 17 years.

Along with the road map, the government will separately launch the so-called cap-and-trade scheme that allows local firms to buy or sell greenhouse emission rights on the Korea Exchange’s trading platform.

The government will allot free permits until 2017 to companies or factories which have annual gas emissions averaging 125,000 and 25,000 tCO2e, respectively.

Any businesses that exceed the emission cap will be fined, while those emitting less will be able to carry the difference through to the next month.