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Korea to curb rise in farm emissions

South Korea plans to considerably decelerate the growth in greenhouse gases emitted by the country’s farming sector as part of its broader efforts to help stem global warming, the government said Thursday.

The plan also calls for increasing the country’s overall greenhouse gas absorption capabilities by around 6 percent over the next decade, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.

Under the plan, the government will take measures to ensure the farming sector will release 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than the business-as-usual level by 2020.

The country’s farming sector released 18 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in 2008 while absorbing 4 million tons of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane from the atmosphere.

“The 35 percent reduction target is higher than the voluntary BAU 30 percent cut announced by Seoul in late 2009 for the whole country,” the ministry said.

Reducing farming-related carbon output can be attained by making less chemical fertilizers, controlling livestock numbers and turning animal waste into bio-resources. Operating more energy-efficient tractors and fishing boats, helping create kelp forests and greater use of renewable energy such as sun and wind power can further reduce emission levels.

The ministry said that while a more detailed plan should be announced in August, the government plans to set aside 1 trillion won ($925 million) in research and development funds to deal with climate change, with support being offered to plant trees on 300,000 hectares of overseas forest land by the end of 2020.

Planting trees permits South Korea to secure carbon emission rights that can be bought and sold once the international community agrees to set up a full-fledged exchange market.

The farm ministry, meanwhile, said it will introduce a new low-carbon certification system for the farming sector in 2012. The system can lay the foundation for a viable local carbon exchange market to facilitate the selling and buying of carbon emission rights down the road. 

(Yonhap News)
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