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Parliament panel passes bill on carbon emission cap

A special parliamentary committee on climate change on Wednesday approved a bill that will charge polluters for their greenhouse gas emissions from 2015, as South Korea joins a global drive to tackle climate change.

The cap-and-trade scheme was introduced in 2009 by the Lee Myung-bak administration, which vowed to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2020, or four percent below the level in 2005. Local firms, however, opposed the scheme on concerns it would raise costs and make exports less competitive globally.

The bill now has to pass through the legislation and judiciary committees and get sent to the National Assembly's plenary session for approval. That process is slated for later this month.

If passed, the government will set carbon emission limits for individual companies depending on their size and establish a carbon market in which firms can trade emission rights starting from 2015.

South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, recorded 594 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2005, ranking ninth among the member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to a government report.

(Yonhap News)