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South Korea doubles 2013 emissions reduction target

South Korea doubled its carbon emissions reduction target for next year in line with the preparations for the country’s nationwide emissions trading scheme in 2015.

Asia’s fourth largest economy now plans to cut emissions by 17.5 million tons, instead of the 8 million tons previously marked, reported Channel NewsAsia.

The revised target would require about 377 businesses in the industrial and power sectors across the country to cut their emissions by 3 percent next year.

According to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the new target will help better prepare major emitters in the country before the cap-and-trade system officially commences in the next three years.

Meanwhile, the ministry added that emitters who will fail to meet the mandatory reduction targets will have to pay a fine of 10 million Korean won ($9,000) in 2014.

The emissions trading scheme to be implemented, which was approved earlier in May this year, will limit industry emissions from South Korea’s largest emitters.

The limits will be applied to companies that generate 125,000 metric tons or more of carbon emissions per year and to factories and buildings that produce 25,000 metric tons annually.

Companies should buy credits if they want to emit more, but can sell credits if they manage to emit below their allocations.

Reportedly, almost 60 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions will be covered by the new scheme, which will significantly help the government meet its international pledge to reduce emissions by 30 percent from 2020 projected levels.

Annual greenhouse gas emissions by the country have doubled in the past two decades to 640 million tons from 350 million ton in 1990, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The world’s eighth-largest carbon emitter also has plans to link its cap-and-trade system with other countries already implementing a similar scheme.

South Korea is among the first countries in Asia to adopt an emissions trading scheme nationwide, along with China which also plans to start its program in 2015. Australia and New Zealand have also set up their own cap-and-trade systems. (C. Dominguez)

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