S. Korea industry lobby urges government to reduce climate ambition level

Published 04:31 on May 13, 2015  /  Last updated at 04:31 on May 13, 2015  /  Asia Pacific, South Korea  /  No Comments

South Korea’s biggest industry lobby on Wednesday urged the government to set “realistic” targets for future carbon emission reductions in line with what it said was softer promises delivered to the UN by nations such as Russia and the United States.

South Korea’s biggest industry lobby on Wednesday urged the government to set “realistic” targets for future carbon emission reductions in line with what it said was softer promises delivered to the UN by nations such as Russia and the United States.

The nation’s pledge to keep GHG emissions in 2020 30% below business-as-usual levels is “virtually impossible” to meet, and the 2030 target should be more in line with the lower level of ambition in other countries’ pledges, a Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) statement said Wednesday.

“The reduction target after 2020 should be mapped out in a realistic way after taking into consideration our country’s industry structure and competitiveness,” an FKI official said, according to the Yonhap news agency.

The FKI has been among the staunchest backers of an increase of permits in the Korean ETS, where a dearth in supply has led to the market going nearly four months without a single trade.

The group said the government has unrealistic expectations for emission cuts, adding that South Korea emitted 20 million tonnes of CO2e more than expected in 2012, 31 million tonnes more in 2011 and 14 million more in 2010.

South Korean steel producers, oil refineries, petrochemicals and semiconductors are already more energy efficient than many of its competitors, and recent government decisions to scale down the nuclear capacity target and delay a renewable energy supply plan have made it even harder for Korea to cut emissions, it said.

INTERNATIONAL SLACK

The group went on to say that too lofty targets were the main reason the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period failed to gain traction, and that other nations show signs of lowering their ambitions in response.

It said the US target of cutting emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 would mostly be met by shale gas, and that the Russian ambition to cut emissions 25-30% below 1990 levels would easily be met without burdening the economy.

Japan’s 26% reduction target and China’s pledge to peak carbon output by 2030 would also put few restraints on domestic industries, according to the FKI.

In consequence, South Korea should also set a climate target that would not hamper the nation’s economy, the FKI said.

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