South Korea cuts 2030 emissions reductions targets for industry

SEOUL: South Korea revised down its 2030 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the industrial sector on Tuesday (Mar 21) but maintained its national goal of cutting emissions by 40 per cent of 2018 levels in what it called a reasonable adjustment.

This is the first annual and sectoral emissions reduction targets put forward by President Yoon Suk Yeol. South Korea, one of the world’s most fossil-fuel-reliant economies, has sought to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Under the plan, the industrial sector will be required to cut emissions by 11.4 per cent from the 2018 levels by 2030, compared to the 14.5 per cent set in late 2021, the Presidential Commission on Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth said.

The gap will be filled by switching more energy sources to renewables and making more reductions overseas, it said.

The country aims to use less carbon-intensive energy sources to reduce emissions by 45.9 per cent from 2018 levels by 2030, up from the existing target of 44.4 per cent.

“We’ve eased industrial reduction targets in light of realistic domestic conditions including raw material supply and technology prospects,” the commission said in a statement.

“In the energy sector, the target was raised to further reduce greenhouse gases through a balanced energy mix between nuclear power and renewables, and by accelerating the shift to clean energy such as solar and hydrogen.”

As part of the efforts, South Korea plans to boost nuclear energy to 32.4 per cent of total power production by 2030, up from 27.4 per cent in 2021, and renewables to at least 21.6 per cent of power output from 7.5 per cent, the commission said.

Yoon, who took office in May, has scrapped his predecessor’s drive to phase out nuclear energy and pledged to expand it to more than 30 per cent of the energy mix.

South Korea supplies more than 40 per cent of its electricity from coal and has vowed to halve the portion by 2030, but environmental groups including Greenpeace have said the goals are too low and criticised its plans to build more coal-fired plants.

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