Pressure increases on President Moon Jae-In to put 2050 net zero target in law and raise country's Paris climate ambitions
South Korea's national assembly has declared a 'climate emergency' as part of a resolution last week aimed at piling further pressure on the President Moon Jae-In to ramp up the country's climate efforts and set out its 2050 net zero target in law.
The resolution passed on Thursday reaffirms South Korea's non-binding 2050 net zero goal - which was endorsed by voters in the April 2020 election as part of the ruling Democratic Party's proposed Green New Deal - and urges Moon to strengthen the East Asian nation's commitments under the Paris Agreement.
It also seeks to establish a committee to oversee the nation's decarbonisation strategy over the next three decades, as well as calling for a more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction goal, alongside a greater focus on enhancing biodiversity and protecting nature, Eco-Business reports.
The move, which comes hot on the heels of China's pledge to reach carbon neutrality before 2060, makes South Korea the first country in the region to declare a 'climate emergency', although details on precisely how the government plans to deliver its net zero ambition have yet to be fleshed out.
In July, however, President Moon announced a near-$70bn green and digital technology investment package as part of its Covid-19 recovery plans aimed at creating 660,000 new jobs by 2025.
As part of the package, the government aims to ramp up its renewable power capacity from 12.7GW last year to 42.7GW by 2025, and is targeting 1.13 million electric vehicles and 200,000 hydrogen fuel cell cars on its roads by the same date, backed by 450 new hydrogen refuelling stations.
By 2030, the heavily coal-reliant country is aiming for renewables to make up 20 per cent of its energy mix, with increased clean power capacoty expected to replace coal plants that are set to close. Earlier this month, Moon announced 10 existing coal plants in the country would close by the end of 2022, followed by another 30 closures by 2034.
However, South Korea has not yet committed to setting down its 2050 net zero ambition in law, nor has it signalled plans to come forward with an enhanced climate plan in support of the Paris Agreement, as countries are expected to ahead of next year's COP26 UN climate summit hosted by the UK in Glasgow.
Dr John Murton, the UK government's COP26 Envoy, welcomed the South Korea national assembly's climate emergency resolution last week, but called on the country's government to set a binding 2050 net zero target, deliver a more ambitious Paris climate plan, and to stop financing coal overseas.
A case of not-quite-what-the headline-says - this headline describes a non-binding resolution from Parliament. I hope the Korean Government will adopt a binding target for 2050, set an ambitious NDC and stop financing coal overseas.https://t.co/18jQIsCRJQ via @ecobusinesscom— John Murton (@JohnMurton) September 28, 2020
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