Buy green and get ‘low carbon’ credits, says gov’t

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Buy green and get ‘low carbon’ credits, says gov’t

Korea will launch an incentive system for people who purchase eco-friendly products or abide by a low-carbon lifestyle as part of next year’s campaign to save energy and reduce carbon emissions, the Ministry of Environment said yesterday.

Reporting its 2011 policy plans to President Lee Myung-bak, the ministry said it will issue chip-embedded credit cards in which consumers can store low-carbon points whenever they use public transportation or purchase certified green products to encourage people to practice saving energy in their daily lives.

The cards will also reward low-carbon practices, such as riding bicycles and bringing one’s own mug to coffee shops, the ministry said.

The carbon point system has been operated by local governments that give people incentives, such as cash, gift certificates and free garbage bags to reward their efforts to protect the environment.

To get closer to general consumers and help them save more points, the ministry will expand the certificate system for eco-friendly products and increase the number of stores that sell certified green products.

The green campaign comes as Korea plans to voluntarily cut emissions by 4 percent below the 2005 level by 2020, a target corresponding to a 30 percent reduction from “business-as-usual” levels in 2005.

Under the long-term “green growth” plan, the government will also provide tax benefits for electric cars and low-carbon vehicles and expand the number of electric cars to 1 million units by 2020.

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