Clean electricity is a key milestone on the road to net zero. To achieve this goal, coal and fossil gas generation need to be phased out urgently. This report develops a 1.5°C compatible pathway for fossil gas generation in South Korea’s power sector and two phase-out schedules for the country’s gas fleet prioritised by cost and health which meet this pathway.
South Korea’s power sector is dominated by fossil fuels, which provided over 60% of generation in 2021. While plans are being developed to reduce fossil gas consumption, current policies are not ambitious enough. Under the 10th Basic Electricity Plan, fossil gas would still provide 23% of electricity in 2030. This does not align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
South Korea needs to phase out gas in the power sector by 2034
In the central 1.5°C compatible pathway we produce, power sector emissions fall 90% from 2022 to 2030 and reach zero by 2034 (Figure ES1). To achieve these reductions, fossil gas generation needs to fall 60% from 2022 to 2030, and fossil gas should be phased out entirely by 2034, and as early as 2031.
There can be no new gas power stations or coal-to-gas conversions
In the 1.5°C compatible pathway, there is no scope for building new fossil gas units post-2023. All units which are due to be finalised post-2023 would need to be cancelled. There is also no scope for planned coal-to-gas conversions in this 1.5°C compatible pathway.
The fossil gas phase-out needs to start immediately
The transition is front-loaded, with a large number of units which need to be retired this year. We develop two phase-out schedules, which focus on maximising the economic and health benefits of the transition (Figure ES2). We identify 18 units which are phased out by the end of 2023 in both phase-out schedules. These units are old, inefficient, highly polluting and expensive.
South Korea has more than enough renewable resources to replace fossil fuels in the power sector and meet future demand
There is abundant renewable potential in South Korea, particularly in offshore wind and utility-scale solar PV. To meet future electricity demand and phase out fossil fuels, our illustrative pathway shows an additional 1500 TWh of renewable generation would be required by 2035. Our detailed analysis finds the country has over three times more renewable potential (5000 TWh) than projected demand.
Phasing out fossil gas in South Korea would bring a wide range of benefits, from cost savings and energy independence to reduced air pollution, improved health and new jobs in the industries of the future, as well as helping to deliver on South Korea’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.
A fossil gas phase-out by the mid-2030s is feasible but requires immediate action. Incremental action, as seen in the 10th Basic Electricity Plan, will not lead to alignment with 1.5°C or enable South Korea to reap the rewards of its renewable potential. South Korea has an opportunity to accelerate action in this critical decade for the climate. This report sets out a clear roadmap to achieving this in the power sector.
Tripling renewables by 2030: interpreting the global goal at the regional level
At COP28, governments agreed to triple global renewable capacity by 2030. This report breaks down what a 1.5ºC-aligned renewables rollout would look like at the regional level and calculate the associated investment needs.
Submission to the Australian Treasury consultation on the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax
As the gas industry in Australia has grown exponentially, the profit taxes it pays to the government have proportionally plummeted, presenting an opportunity to change this regime. Here, we respond to the Australian Government Treasury consultation on the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) – anti-avoidance provisions and clarifying treatment of ‘exploration’ and Mining, Quarrying or Prospecting Rights.
Unabated: the Carbon Capture and Storage 86 billion tonne carbon bomb aimed at derailing a fossil phase-out
The climate talks at COP28 have centred around the need for a fossil fuel phase-out. Our analysis quantifies the risk posed by restricting a phase-out commitment to only ‘unabated’ fossil fuels.
No change to warming as fossil fuel endgame brings focus onto false solutions
The CAT's annual warming estimate has risen by 0.1˚C to 2.5˚C. The estimate is largely influenced by weak existing targets rather than shifts triggered by updated Nationally Determined Contributions.
When will global greenhouse gas emissions peak?
The IPCC says peaking before 2025 is a critical step to keep the 1.5°C limit within reach. With emissions set to rise in 2023, this leaves limited time to act. To assess if we can meet this milestone, we look at when global emissions might peak, as well as what we can do to get there in time.
Wind and solar benchmarks for a 1.5°C world
This report presents a detailed methodology for determining the amount of wind and solar capacity that is required for a country to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal. While the focus of the report is the method, it includes illustrative benchmarks for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Germany, South Africa.
A 1.5°C future is possible: getting fossil fuels out of the Philippine power sector
The Philippines is also one of the fastest-growing developing countries: poverty is in decline, access to energy is rising and, with that, demand for energy services. However, fossil fuels still dominate the energy system, accounting for 78% of power generation in 2022. This report sets out what the Philippines government needs to do to get the country’s power sector onto a 1.5˚C compatible emissions pathway, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
Production Gap Report 2023
Governments, in aggregate, still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. The persistence of the global production gap puts a well-managed and equitable energy transition at risk.
Emissions impossible: Unpacking CSIRO GISERA Beetaloo Middle Arm fossil gas emissions estimates
This report provides an independent evaluation of the CSIRO and GISERA assessments of the potential greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the exploitation of the Beetaloo fossil shale gas reserves.
Adjusting 1.5°C climate change mitigation pathways in light of adverse new information
This study uses an integrated assessment model to explore how 1.5°C pathways could adjust in light of new adverse information, such as a reduced 1.5°C carbon budget, or slower-than-expected low-carbon technology deployment.