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KRX to launch carbon trading market in 2015

The Korea Exchange (KRX), the country’s stock market operator, said Wednesday that it aims to run the country’s first carbon trading market starting in 2015 with some 500 firms expected to join.

The KRX, designated as the sole operator of the carbon trading market, will adopt systems for emissions trading that are similar to the current stock market trading schemes.

The regular trading hours will run from 10 a.m. to noon, the bourse operator said.

The country has been joining efforts to reduce greenhouse gases largely responsible for global warming.

The so-called cap-and-trade scheme would allow local companies to buy rights to discharge more emissions or sell emission rights on the trading platform if they can cut their greenhouse emissions.

The government will allot free permits to companies until 2017, but will raise the portion of paid permits to 3 percent during the 2018-2020 period, and to over 10 percent between 2021 and 2025.

As the world’s ninth biggest carbon emitter, South Korea declared in 2009 its bid to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent from business-as-usual levels by 2020, or a 4 percent reduction from the levels of 2005 when it discharged 594 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The toughened regulations will affect companies that release 125,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year. Individual plants that emit 25,000 tons of global warming gases such as carbon dioxide will also come under the strict regulations, according to the government.

The bourse operator said around 500 companies and possibly more are expected to join the carbon trading market.

The carbon trading system could help local polluters, mostly power generators and manufacturers, slash their dioxide emissions, but companies have been concerned that the trading system could push up costs. (Yonhap News)