South Korea right now became the very first country in Asia to pass climate alter legislation that limits the country’s carbon emissions, joining the host of countries about the globe that as well have passed climate laws.
The South Korean parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of adopting a national carbon trading scheme. The bill received the support of 148 out of 151 lawmakers and establishes South Korea as the fourth nation in Asia to adopt carbon trading, joining China, Australia and New Zealand. South Korea’s plan covers approximately 60 percent of the nation’s carbon pollution and will start out putting a price on carbon starting in 2015. The carbon trading scheme will cap pollution across the whole economy, ranging from steelmakers and power generators to big universities, to encourage them to become much more energy efficient.
EDF’s Regional Director for Asia, Richie Ahuja, said:
South Korea’s bold move is evidence that fast growing economies can put a limit on dangerous carbon emissions with broad support from elected leaders, and of the mounting desire and momentum to curb climate change across both the developed and developing world.
Such visionary actions by countries is how the global climate race will be won.
South Korea will be the world’s eighth-largest carbon emitter, based on 2009 figures from the International Energy Agency. The country’s greenhouse-gas emissions jumped to about 640 million metric tons in 2011 from 350 million tons in 1990, developing it the fastest-growing emissions source amongst 34 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a Feb. 9 report.
There are a couple of lessons that the U.S. and other country in this world can learn from the South Korean carbon trading example. One, once the government firmly believes in investing at the future green economy, it can overcome business opposition and implement forward-thinking environmental policy. Second, putting a price on carbon encourages power conservation that may result in major savings. South Korea is the world’s fifth-largest oil importer so decreasing their power use, which in turns decreases the want for energy imports, will equal huge price savings. Third, the government recognizes the emerging marketplace for green companies and actively decided to help corporations find just before the curve, rather of hindering their expansion and development.
Cap-and-trade systems just like Korea’s have a useful track record of curbing carbon emissions. The cap-and-trade program for sulfur dioxide in the U.S. Clean Air Act, for instance, reduced emissions faster and at decrease cost than predicted. In Europe, the globe’s initial and largest Emissions Trading System has played a significant and productive role in reducing the EU’s emissions.
Next for Korea, the Presidential Commission on Green Growth and related ministries will function on the final particulars of the law; those might be released in a Presidential Decree at the next few months.