South Korea’s Emissions Target – What does 30% mean?

South Korea has suggested that it will reduce its emissions by 30% by 2020.  Now, what does this mean?30% of what?

The answer is 30% of the expected emissions in 2020 if business as usual. That is quite a different kind of target. The European Union has a target of 20% reduction by 2020 of 1990 levels. Quite different from Korea’s. In fact, the South Korean target equates to 4% reduction from 2005 levels.

I think that this is a more realistic target. I was expecting some solutions on how they would do it but looks like this was not a well thought out target as the government will set up a task force to understand the effect of this. It has committed to funding but that is it.

Some excerpts from various news articles:

  • South Korea will limit the burden on manufacturers and reduce emissions by “non industries” such as transportation and building to keep carbon dioxide output below the level it may rise to by 2020 in the absence of preventive measures.
  • The government will form a task force comprising bureaucrats, industry officials and experts to study possible curbs on industries and households, according to the statement.
  • South Korea’s green investment plans are already among the most ambitious in Asia, with the government saying earlier this year it would pump 107 trillion won ($92.88 billion) into environment-related industries over the next five years.
  • The 30 percent reduction isn’t absolute, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a separate statement. Future economic growth and oil prices may change the target, the ministry said, without giving an estimate.
  • President Lee Myung-bak said in the statement that while emissions reduction would present “short-term burdens” it would also bring “broader national gains.”
  • “Through the aggressive greenhouse gas reduction, South Korea will be ready for industrialized countries’ carbon trade tariffs, raise energy security and acquire market share first in rapidly growing green sectors.”
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