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South Korea Firmed Up Its Global Warming Commitment

Jake Schmidt

Posted November 19, 2009

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South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has just announced that South Korea would commit to significant steps to address their global warming pollution (as Reuters and the Financial Times reported).  He announced that South Korea would cut their global warming pollution to 30 percent below the projected 2020 levels (an estimated 4 percent cut from 2005 levels). 

This is the most aggressive end of the target range that they proposed back in August (as I discussed here).  As you can see it is the lowest emissions level (the "high" option) in the graph below.


It marks a significant shift in South Korea's global warming pollution.  It will reduce emissions in 2020 by over 200 million tons - that is more than the entire annual emissions of CO2 from the Netherlands.  Not too bad! 

And it will help them be a leader in developing and deploying clean energy, as well as, meeting other important objectives for South Korea.  As Reuters reports, President Lee Myung-bak said in the statement that:

"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."

As we used to say a couple of years ago: "if only major developing countries would take serious actions to curb their global warming pollution".  Well South Korea was the 8th largest emitter of CO2 from fossil fuels in 2005 so this isn't some small insignificant country taking action. 

So way to go South Korea!

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Julian L. WongNov 19 2009 11:15 PM

Yes indeed! And let's not forget that S. Korea is a non-Annex I country, making it the first such country to commit to a hard 2020 cap. This in theory could break down the artificial divide between Annex I and non-Annex I. Mexico might follow suit.

Blogged about this 3 mth ago when S. Korea was first considering these targets:

Jake SchmidtNov 20 2009 03:03 PM

Agree that this is a very important signal from an emerging economy. Definitely stay tuned on Mexico as I think we'll see more details on their actions before the end of the year (I discussed there announcements on this last December:

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