South Korea’s carbon neutrality law takes effect today.
Under the Carbon Neutrality Act, South Korea aims to cut its greenhouse emissions by 40% of its 2018 levels by 2030. This is an increase from the 35% agreed to last year. South Korea joins 13 other nations that have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, including Canada, France and the UK.
Before the bill’s passage, the president-elect’s People Power Party (PPP) argued for emissions cuts of up to 50%, exceeding international standards set by the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015. However, that target slipped over concerns of an excessive burden on local industry.
As a heavily coal-reliant nation, South Korea has been making strides to transition to cleaner energy. However, similar to Japan, the country has increased investments in biomass, despite its harmful polluting effects.
Non-investment in clean energies will overshadow the country’s official pledges to slash emissions in the medium-to-long term. On the flip side, President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is unlikely to suffer a political loss as a result, considering the majority of voters’ focus is on job creation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.