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Korea to delay carbon trading to 2015

Korea’s government is delaying carbon emission trading to 2015 after opposition from the industry to implement it in two years.

The revised bill, which reflects feedback from businesses, will be submitted to parliament in March, Kim Sang-hyup, the presidential secretary for green growth, said Saturday.

President Lee Myung-bak said on Feb. 7 the emission-trading plan will be implemented in a “flexible manner,” considering global trends and industrial competitiveness and the government would introduce the system at an “opportune time” after hearing the views of companies.

Under the revised plan, the government will increase free allowances to more than 95 percent in the first three years of the program to help ease the burden of companies, from more than 90 percent in its initial proposal, Kim said. The penalty for excess emission will be cut to as much as three times the average market price, from five times in the previous proposal.

Korea, Asia’s fourth-biggest polluter, said in November it aims to adopt a carbon-trading system in 2013 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming.

The Federation of Korean Industries and other business groups have asked for a delay till 2015, saying the system will increase costs and make companies less competitive than rivals from Japan and China, which don’t have similar programs. The system would cost companies as much as 14 trillion won ($13 billion) a year, Korea Energy Management said on Jan. 11.

Korea said in 2009 that it would voluntarily reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent from the expected 2020 level, or 4 percent below its emissions in 2005. Korea would be the second nation in the Asia Pacific region to start emissions trading after New Zealand if the plans are approved. 

(Bloomberg)
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