Korea aims to reduce carbon emissions by 24.4%

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Friday, “South Korea pledged to ensure carbon neutrality through the Vision Declaration of 2050 Carbon Neutrality.” “The next step forward is to come up with scenarios where each citizen can have a part to play in their daily lives and implement systematic roadmaps tailored to each social sector.”

President Moon said on a video clip for the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 in celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, “We have put together the 2050 Republic of Korea Carbon Neutrality Vision that will help simultaneously achieve carbon neutrality and economic growth while improving the quality of life.” Carbon neutrality is an initiative to realize net-zero carbon emissions by reducing them and removing unavoidable production through forestation.

President Moon’s drive for carbon neutrality seemingly intends to react preemptively to a possible tightening of carbon regulations across the United States and Europe. The U.S. President-elect signaled a return to the Paris Agreement. Previously, Chinese President also made a declaration on carbon neutrality by 2060.

However, such carbon reduction efforts may increase the burden of carbon taxes, say critics. While launching a set of strategies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 last Monday, the South Korean government announced to commission a research project to redesign the pricing system, including taxation and emission charges.

Hyung-Jun Hwang constant25@donga.com

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