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Korea introduces carbon tracking

Nation becomes third after U.S., Japan to run system

Korea has developed and put into operation its own system tracking how much carbon dioxide a country emits.

With the greenhouse gas monitoring system up and running, Korea has become the third country after the United States and Japan to track how much carbon dioxide is being emitted around the world. It is also expected to gain influence in future climate change negotiations.

The Korea Meteorological Administration recently kicked off its first global carbon dioxide tracking system, officials said Sunday. The system has enabled the agency to calculate worldwide carbon dioxide density, emissions, and traffic volume.

Officials said that they are estimating country-by-country carbon dioxide movement on the basis of its data observed thus far.

The system has been set up in collaboration with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will focus its tracking in North America, while the Korean system mostly monitors Asia. Both agencies will exchange their data after calculating their carbon dioxide emissions.

Major advanced countries compete in developing systems which can track emissions and absorption of carbon dioxide. Such systems are expected to boost a country’s own information gathering and analyzing ability in connection with future global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas.

It is also discussing an agreement with its Japanese counterpart in order to gain access to Japan’s satellite data, officials said. So far, the U.S., Japan, France, Germany and the Netherlands have developed their own tracking systems, but three countries ― the U.S., Japan and Korea ―- are also producing data, officials said.

The Korean system enables the agency to grasp how well other countries do with their promises to cut emissions as well as to check carbon trading permits from country to country.

Carbon dioxide observation is considered a key meteorological project in most advanced countries for cutting down on global greenhouse gases, officials said.

“Ever since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the international community has been under increasing economic and diplomatic pressure regarding greenhouse gas reduction,” said a KMA official.

“Northeast Asia, especially China, is the largest producer of greenhouse gases but much of its emissions go unobserved or unreported.”

To gain advantage in international environmental negotiations, it is crucial to grasp how much each country contributes to the emission and absorption of carbon dioxide, the official said.

The system will also elevate the country’s influence in international emissions trading, a system which provides economic incentives for reducing pollutant emissions of each country.

By Bae Hyun-jung (