Energy ministry to double budget for carbon neutrality

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Energy ministry to double budget for carbon neutrality

Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Chey Tae-won, center, speaks during a meeting with Energy Minister Moon Sung-wook at the association's office in central Seoul. [YONHAP]

Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Chey Tae-won, center, speaks during a meeting with Energy Minister Moon Sung-wook at the association's office in central Seoul. [YONHAP]

 
The energy ministry vowed Wednesday to allot at least 30 percent of its research and development spending to the technologies and projects aimed at carbon neutrality by 2030 as the energy transition will likely pose serious challenges for companies.  
 
The target is almost double the current 16.7 percent, or 820 billion won ($694 million), for 2021, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.  
 
In line with the move to increase spending on carbon reduction technologies, the ministry bumped up next year’s R&D expenditure linked with the carbon initiative by 50 percent to 1.2 trillion won.  
 
The research endeavor will center around the development of gas turbines fueled by hydrogen and floating wind turbines with higher capacity by 2030.  
 
Other areas of focus include technologies for developing energy storage systems designed to ease variable energy production of renewables and a new-generation converter for steelmaking.  
 
Through 2050, the focus will be on techniques used to fully convert natural gas or liquefied natural gas (LNG) into hydrogen and ammonia with turbines and the development of hydrogen-based production for steel and electrolysis-based refining instead of using naphtha.  
 
Despite the promise, the chief of Korea’s major business lobby called on the government to provide more incentives for the efforts to reduce carbon emissions during a meeting with Energy Minister Moon Sung-wook on Wednesday.
  
“[The government] should offer more incentives for companies committed to curbing carbon emissions, which could act as a catalyst for the development of innovative carbon-cutting technologies,” said Chey Tae-won, head of Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said.  
 
He underscored pressure on the chaebol.  
“An updated nationally determined contribution raised the target, doubling the amount of greenhouse gas reduction required for the industries,” he said, “So, the burden for cutting greenhouse gases has intensified, prompting the industry players to doubt whether the goal is achievable.”
 
The presidential committee on carbon neutrality announced a new nationally determined contribution (NDC) target last month, saying Korea will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from the country’s peak in 2018 by 2030. The figure was upgraded from the earlier NDC target of a 26.3 percent reduction.
 
The government further announced it will restrict industrial sector carbon emissions to 51.1 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) by 2050. That was down from the previous goal of 53.1 million tons of CO2eq.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
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