South Korea plans to soon finalize its long-term commitments to climate change that will require Seoul to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 14 percent from its business-as-usual level by 2030, the government said Thursday.
The government plans to set the country's final reduction target after public surveys and debates, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. A report containing the country's voluntary commitments will be submitted to the United Nations before the end of this month.
The government previously said the report will likely be submitted before the end of September as the ongoing U.N. efforts to set up a new international protocol on climate change, known as the Post 2020 Climate Change Mitigation Commitments, require member states to declare their commitments before the end of December.
"The ongoing international efforts are asking countries to submit their intended nationally determined contributions as soon as possible," the ministry said in a press release.
"Most of the advanced states, including the United States and the European Union, have already submitted their INDCs in March, and so the country decided to submit its own INDC before the end of June as part of efforts to contribute to the international efforts."
As the level of the country's own mitigation efforts will be set through public debates, the government offered four options to choose from a range from the minimum 14.7 percent to the maximum 31.3 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the country's BAU level by 2030.
Without any measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions or let business run as usual, the country's overall emissions are expected to grow by an annual average of 1.3 percent over the next 15 years to reach 850.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (Co2-e) by 2030, according to a joint government report released by the ministry.
The least aggressive option will require the country to cut its overall emissions by 14.7 percent from its BAU level to 726 million tons of Co2-e by 2030. The figure will represent a 5.5 percent growth from its total emissions in 2012.
The most aggressive option of cutting emissions by 31.3 percent will result in the overall emission of 585 million tons of Co2-e by 2030, also marking a 15 percent cut from 2012.
The two other options call for reductions of 19.2 percent and 25.7 percent from the 2030 BAU level, which will translate into a 0-percent and 8.1 percent reduction from the 2012 level, respectively.
The country is allowed to set its own target, but its reduction target may be subject to verification once it is submitted to the United Nations.
It may also become legally binding once the United Nations successfully launches the envisioned international protocol on climate change. (Yonhap)