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Government policy coordination organization to lead climate change policies

South Korea's Cabinet on Tuesday approved revisions to a set of the enforcement ordinances on green growth and carbon emissions trading to have the Office for Government Policy Coordination spearhead the country's climate change policies.

According to the revisions, the office under the prime minister will serve as a "control tower" to curb Asia's fourth-largest economy's carbon emissions starting next month, Seoul officials said.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance will craft and coordinate policies related to the allocation of carbon emission rights, while four ministries, including the Ministry of Environment, will take charge of their enforcement.

The revision also reflects the country's 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent from business-as-usual levels, in line with the result of the U.N. climate change conference, which was held in December.

Under the revised ordinances, the policy coordination office will set targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, and four ministries -- the ministries of finance, environment, agriculture and transport -- will formulate detailed plans to meet the reduction targets.

In a move to stabilize the emissions rights market, the revision also allows companies to use up to 20 percent of their quotas -- set for next year -- in advance during the 2015-2017 period. The previous ordinances allowed them to use only 10 percent in advance.

The revision is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the country's emission rights trading system.

Under the system, the government has set quantitative limits on carbon emissions that can be released by local companies and allowed them to sell surplus amounts of carbon dioxide emissions or buy more rights if they have used up their quotas.

The Korea Exchange, the country's main bourse, is in charge of the emission rights trade. (Yonhap)
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