- South Korea’s National Assembly clears Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth Act, with aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050
- Country will target to reduce GHG emissions by 35% or more than 2018 level by 2030
- It wants to transition from a centralized system into a decentralized one under the goal
On August 31, 2021 the National Assembly of South Korea has passed the Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth Act, setting the country on track to aim for carbon neutrality by 2050. In the interim, it aims to reduce emissions by 35% or more than 2018 level, by 2030. The government had previously submitted this proposed carbon neutrality target under its Long-term Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) to the United Nations (UN) in December 2020.
The 14th nation to adopt the carbon neutrality target globally will transition from a ‘centralized system into a decentralized one’ charting a significant role for local government entities. It will support data collection for local emissions and establish carbon neutrality support centers while making efforts to establish Carbon-Neutral Cities Coalition.
There are not too many details regarding the role of renewables in achieving the goal in the ministry’s announcement about the act that will be proclaimed in September 2021. However, under the Korean New Deal released by the government in July 2020, South Korea aims to increase solar and wind generation capacity from 12.7 GW in 2019 to 26.3 GW in 2022, scaling it up to 42.7 GW by 2025.
Yonhap News Agency in an August 31, 2021 report said the government plans to spend about KRW 12 trillion ($10.3 billion) in 2022 on reducing GHG emissions as part of its carbon neutrality measures as part of its 2022 budget plan. Of this KRW 8.3 trillion will be invested on low-carbon projects in the energy, industry, mobility and land sectors. A climate response fund will also be established worth KRW 2.5 trillion. The renewable energy industry and the larger power generation sector can expect additional financial support as part of the Renewable Energy 2030 ambition wherein the country wants to achieve 20% renewables share in its electricity mix.
“With the enactment of the Carbon Neutrality Act, we now have the basis on which we could pursue our carbon-neutral policies for the next 30 years,” said country’s Minister of Environment Han Jeoung-ae. “After having a social discussion, a mid-to long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction target will be set within the range defined by the Act. Meanwhile, we will do our best to design and implement the climate impact assessment and other new policy measures.”
In January 2021, local media reported the country to be aiming for 40.3% of the electricity mix to come from renewables by 2034, reaching 77.8 GW nameplate electricity generation capacity (see South Korea Clears Way For Renewable Energy PPAs).