SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea set a new goal on Monday for fighting climate change over the next decade, saying it will aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2018 levels by 2030.
The country had faced criticism that its initial plan for a 26.3% reduction was too modest. In promising stronger contributions to curb global warming ahead of a U.N. climate summit in Scotland next month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the new target represents the “most enthusiastic” objective the country could possibly set under current circumstances.
South Korea aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.
“Compared to advanced economies, which had already reached peak emissions in the 1990s or 2000s and were give a longer period of time to reduce their emissions, we have to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions at a much faster pace as we reached peak emission only in 2018, so the new goal is a very challenging target,” Moon said in a meeting of a presidential committee on climate goals.
The committee’s plan, which is to be formalized in a Cabinet meeting next week and presented at the U.N. COP26 summit in Glasgow, includes an aim to cut emissions from electricity generation and heating by 44.4% below 2018 levels in 2030 by reducing the country’s reliance on coal-fired plants and expanding renewable energy sources. The country is also seeking to reduce the industrial use of fossil fuel and accelerate a transition toward electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Moon had promised to provide a more ambitious target for reducing carbon emissions while he participated in a virtual climate summit called by U.S. President Joe Biden in April. Moon then also said the country will no longer finance the construction of coal power plants in other nations, although his pledge didn’t effect South Korea’s participation in ongoing projects to build two new coal plants in Indonesia and another in Vietnam.