Greenhouse gas emissions up 2.9 percent in 2007

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Greenhouse gas emissions up 2.9 percent in 2007

Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.9 percent in 2007 compared to 2006, totaling 620 million tons, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said yesterday. This is the highest growth rate since 2002 and nearly three times faster than the growth rate in 2006.

“The carbon emissions rise resulted from fossil fuel production jumping as well as increased energy consumption by steel and petrochemical producers due to respective industries seeing overall growth,” the ministry said. It also said that stopping power production at Gori-1, Korea’s first nuclear power plant, during the second quarter of 2007 resulted in decreased nuclear power production of 3.9 percent, adding to carbon emissions.

The year 2007’s sum is a 103 percent increase from greenhouse gas emission totals in 1990. By category, carbon gas emissions in the energy and agriculture industries rose by 3.9 percent and 5.3 percent respectively, while the industrial processing and waste processing sectors’ emissions in 2007 decreased 2.2 percent on-year.

The data for the latest carbon emissions report was based on a calculation method required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The ministry said that Korea is the first country not legally obligated to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to use this UN method.

In other developments, the Ministry of Environment said yesterday that starting next year 640 Korean companies will participate in a pilot business for a carbon credit trading system in a bid to jump into the global rush toward reductions in emissions.

From 2010 to 2012, the companies, including major retailers Shinsegae, E-Mart and Lotte Shopping as well as public organizations like Busan city government, will need to reduce carbon gas emissions by 1 to 2 percent from the present levels. If a company reduces more emissions than the required limit, it will be able to sell carbon credits. If a company emits more than the limit, it will have to buy carbon credits. The credits will be traded through the Korea Exchange.

“Participating companies and organizations are taking an assertive position to reduce carbon gas emissions,” said Lee Jang-won, an employee at the climate change control division at the environment ministry.

“The Jeju provincial government said that next year it will push for a 3 percent reduction of present greenhouse gas emissions, while by 2012 it aims to reduce emissions by 10 percent from the present rate.”

The ministry added that Daegu, Incheon, Ulsan and Gyeonggi seek to reduce emissions by 3 percent.

Carbon dioxide trading had a pilot run by the European Union in 2005.


By Cho Jae-eun, Kang Chan-su [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]

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