South Korea must double carbon cuts to live up to its international climate obligations: report
The report by Climate Analytics and South Korean think-tank Solutions for Our Climate is first to outline a Paris-Agreement compatible pathway for South Korea to bring its currently inadequate 2030 emission reduction target (referred to as a Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC) in line with the 1.5°C limit in the Paris Agreement.
Under the Paris Agreement, South Korea pledged to reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 32.5%, and to reduce the rest using international offsets or domestic forestry. The report states that “Korea’s domestic emissions target needs to be set at 291 million tons of CO2, and its NDC target, at 66% reductions against BAU emissions to meet the 1.5°C target.”
NDCs – nationally determined contributions – are the pledges set by countries to strengthen their commitment to climate change. Under the Paris Agreement, countries are obligated to submit NDC targets every five years, and this year, they are expected to submit updated ones with strengthened targets for 2030.
The report states the urgent need for Korea to revise its NDC targets this year. However, such revisions seem unlikely in light of recent changes in Korean law. According to a revision in the low-carbon green growth law last December, Korea’s target to cut emissions by 37% against business-as-usual (BAU) emissions was revised to 24.4% until 2030, compared to 2017. As such, it seems likely that the government will submit the same NDC targets to the UN in 2020 as it did in 2015.
Attorney Sejong Youn from Solutions for Our Climate says “the Paris Agreement calls for new NDCs to set more ambitious targets than previous ones,” adding that “if Korea submits the same NDC target as it did in 2015 — 536 million tons of CO2 — it may not be able to avoid criticism that it has violated international law.”
The report points to the need for Korea to share the global burden of these cuts, considering its status as a developed country. To do that, the report states that Korea’s total NDC gas reduction target “must be increased from 37% to over 74%,” and that its greenhouse gas emissions should be cut “by more than half, from 536 million tons of CO2 to 217 million tons of CO2.”
In order for Korea to meet these strengthened emission targets, the report emphasised the need an orderly coal phase-out by 2029 and ensuing a transition to renewables, as outlined in an earlier analysis, released by Climate Analytics last February.
South Korea’s ruling party’s recent victory in the National Assembly elections, and its strengthened commitment to the Green New Deal and pledge to cut emissions to zero by 2050 is an opportunity for stepping up action in this area.
Ursula Fuentes, a senior researcher from Climate Analytics, says “it is very encouraging to see Korea joining the net-zero emissions club but now it is crucial that the government sets a credible plan for getting there, and this means considerably stepping up its emission cutting efforts so that the 2030 targets are in line with the Paris Agreement.” She says such plans may include the expansion of renewables, and the phase-out of coal plants within 10 years, emphasising how this will play “a pivotal role in the energy transition.”
Weak GST text fundamentally puts 1.5°C out of reach
Bill Hare, CEO, reacts to the new draft of the Global Stocktake text at COP28 on Monday evening.
Carbon capture and storage could unleash 86 billion tonne carbon bomb
A new analysis finds reliance on carbon capture and storage could release an extra 86 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere between 2020 and 2050.
Projected warming almost unchanged for two years as governments push false solutions over climate action
Despite their promises, governments have not taken enough action to drive down warming projections, with some instead turning to false solutions such as carbon capture and storage to continue the world's reliance on fossil fuels, according to the Climate Action Tracker's annual warming update.
All greenhouse gas emissions could peak in 2023
A new report finds maintaining current solar, wind and electric vehicle growth rates could lead to peak emissions in 2023.
Oil and gas majors could have paid for their share of climate loss and damage and still earned 10 trillion USD: new report
Global climate damages from emissions associated with the top 25 oil and gas ‘carbon majors’ between 1985 and 2018 are estimated at 20 trillion USD compared to the 30 trillion USD they earned over the same period, according to a new report released today by international think tank Climate Analytics.
A 1.5˚C pathway for the Philippines power sector entirely feasible: analysis
With the right international funding and policies in place, the Philippines could transition its’ power sector to near-100% renewable energy without compromising on the costs of electricity, reducing its reliance on expensive imports of both coal and gas, and creating up to a million jobs by 2050.
State of Climate Action report finds progress lags on every measure except EV sales
Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator — except electric passenger car sales — lagging significantly behind the pace and scale that is necessary to address the climate crisis.
Governments plan to produce double the fossil fuels in 2030 than the 1.5°C warming limit allows
The Production Gap Report finds governments plan to produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with 2°C.
Beetaloo fracking and Middle Arm emissions wildly underestimated: analysis
An independent analysis of the projected emissions from the Northern Territory's proposed Beetaloo Basin gas fracking project — and the associated Middle Arm LNG precinct in Darwin Harbour — has found they've been gravely underestimated, as have the availability of offsets to deal with them.
Remembering Saleemul Huq
We pay tribute to the highly revered climate expert and advocate Saleemul Huq, who passed away suddenly this Saturday.
Comic artists respond to the climate crisis
Three leading comic creators have collaborated with the Horizon Europe project, CONSTRAIN, to develop comics exploring the climate change challenge.