South Korea raises greenhouse gas reduction target to 40% by 2030

On Friday, in a statement the South Korean government said, it will raise its greenhouse gas reduction target to 40%, up from 26.3%, by 2030, as part of its efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The revision of the nationally determined contribution (NDC) was proposed by South Korea’s ruling party earlier this year in June. Seoul is scheduled to officially say this at the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has proposed a “Green New Deal” aimed at helping the country bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic while eventually reaching the goal of zero emissions by 2050.

“I believe we are living in an unprecedented era that we have never seen or heard of,” said Jeon Eui-chan, the chairman of the presidential committee on carbon neutrality in a televised conference on Friday while noting that assessment reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that humankind is living under atmospheric CO2 concentrations higher than at any time in at least 2 million years.

“Korea needs at least a 59% domestic reduction in emissions below 2017 levels by 2030 to do its fair share under the Paris Agreement,” said Joojin Kim, managing director of the advocacy group said in a statement. “Korea is lagging behind many advanced economies committing to at least halving their emissions by the end of the decade.”

In a statement South Korea’s government said, the revised NDC is a “very bold aim compared to other nations”.

When South Korea had proposed the 40% goal target in June, Climate Action Tracker had said it represented a significant improvement to the country’s initial 2030 target, although it was yet not aligned to what is needed to reach global Paris Agreement goals.

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