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Seoul announces 32.5 percent domestic greenhouse gas reduction goal

Seoul announced Tuesday a revised plan that focused on a sharp reduction of domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The country is sticking with a previously announced plan -- it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 315 million tons, or 37 percent from business-as-usual levels, by 2030 -- under the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.

What has changed is the share of domestic reduction to be made, which has been increased from the previous 25.7 percent to 32.5 percent. As a result, the overseas proportion of the greenhouse gas emission reduction shrank from 11.3 percent to 4.5 percent. 


This means that from now on, a 32.5 percent reduction below BAU in South Korea will be achieved domestically, while only a 4.5 percent reduction will be made by international market mechanisms.

Local industries will now have to shoulder the burden of reducing some 79 million tons more every year.

The revised plan was announced after the government faced mounting criticism from environmental activists, who accused it of “not doing enough” to prevent greenhouse emissions in and out of the country.

Korea is among the world’s top 10 carbon emitters. A 2014 report from the International Panel on Climate Change recommended that Asia, including South Korea, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 to 50 percent by 2050 to prevent climate change disasters.

Last month, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the government would limit operation of aged coal-fired power plants -- up to 80 percent of their capacity -- when fine dust warnings are issued, as part of efforts to reduce air pollution.

Seoul also announced in December that it would invest some 100 trillion won ($88.1 billion) on renewable energy by 2030.

By Claire Lee (