The Korea Herald


Korea expected to speed up green drives for Paris deal

By 이현정

Published : Dec. 13, 2015 - 17:47

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South Korea is expected to beef up its anticarbon moves in order to meet the targets of the Paris agreement approved by the global community Saturday.

Envoys of 195 countries made a historical accord in Paris to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, which experts consider the threshold for catastrophic climate change.

As part of efforts to scale up the countries’ commitment, their pledges will be reviewed every five years from 2023 under the agreement, officials said. In an effort to join the anti-global warming movement, the Seoul government has pledged in June to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 37 percent from the expected business-as-usual level by 2030.

The largest target comprises actual mitigations of 25.7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and the purchase of global carbon credits equivalent to 11.3 percent. This will restrict emissions to 536 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the Environment Ministry said.

Seoul revised its previous targets in the face of public criticism that the country was backtracking in its green progress. Environmentalists urged Korea to be more aggressive, whereas the industry sector expressed concerns over potential impacts on their businesses.

While the Korean public is split over the carbon cut target, Seoul is expected to strengthen its green drive to better execute its obligation as one of the largest emitters.

President Park Geun-hye said in a keynote speech in Paris on Nov. 30 that Seoul would push for the “electronics prosumer” business by opening a market in 2017. It will allow electronics consumers to sell their own electronic energy that they have generated or saved with environmentally friendly items such as electric cars. “Prosumer” is a new buzzword combining “producer” and “consumer.”

The government will also expand the renewable energy industry and introduce 10 billion electric cars across the country by 2030. It will gradually oblige builders to construct zero-energy buildings that generate renewable energy and use advanced insulation technology, the environment authorities said.

These are part of Seoul’s long-term energy plan that was released last month.

The government is also anticipated to boost the carbon emissions trading system that was introduced in January. So far, about 520 companies have joined the carbon trading program.

While putting efforts into cutting local emissions, Seoul will use international organs such as the Green Climate Fund and Global Green Growth institute to support the green initiatives of developing countries.

The GCF, launched in 2013 to support the anticarbon moves of developing countries, is currently stationed in Songdo, Incheon.

Korea has been one of the major emitters in the world. As of 2012, Korea was ranked seventh in greenhouse gases emissions, contributing 1.87 percent of the world’s total emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

The per capita emissions also stood at 11.9 tons in 2012, which is well over double the global average of 4.5 tons.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (