Climate Change and Development Context
South Korea is seen as a regional leader in policies and initiatives leading to a green economy. According to the country’s Third National Communication to the UNFCCC, South Korea is making the effort to shift to a new paradigm that can reduce GHG emissions and foster economic growth simultaneously. This follows decades of rapid economic growth that saw greenhouse gas emissions rise significantly. The Republic of Korea’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (excluding those from land use, land use change, and forestry) were 607.6 Mt CO2 eq. in 2009 with the highest contribution from the energy sector (84.9%). Impacts of climate change are projected to be manifested through increases in average temperatures and annual precipitation. Korea’s growth path in the 1990s was characterized by a high dependency on costly imports of fossil fuels. Understanding that this growth path was unsustainable, the Korean government in 2008 announced its vision for low-carbon, energy efficient green growth.
Key National Institutions, Policies and Initiatives
In 2008, the Government of the Republic of Korea announced Low Carbon Green Growth as the new vision for nation’s growth in the next 60 years. To promote this vision, the Presidential Committee on Green Growth (PCCG) was established. At COP 15, Korea pledged to reduce its GHG emissions by 30% relative to BAU by 2020. To achieve this goal, the Korean parliament passed the Framework Act on Low Carbon Green Growth. This legislation built on the Green New Deal, a stimulus package of USD 38.5 billion for implementation of projects on promoting renewable energy, energy efficient buildings, low carbon vehicles and water and waste management. The PCCG is co-chaired by the Prime Minister and a representative of private sector and consists of relevant government ministries and representatives from private stakeholders. The committee’s mandate is to discuss all issues related to green growth. Similar to PCCG, there are regional committees on green growth for deliberating matters related to green growth policy formulation and implementation at local levels. Participation of private sector in formulation of green growth policies was encouraged through launch of five Green Growth Private Sector Consultative bodies that brought together businesses, scientists and civil society for providing expert guidance.
In 2009, the National Strategy for Green Growth (2009-2050) was adopted along with the Five Year Plan for Green Growth (2009-2013). The three objectives of the National Strategy for Green Growth are (1) climate change mitigation and energy independence (2) creating new engines of economic growth through development of green technologies and greening of industries and (3) improvement in quality of life and enhanced international standing through development of green cities. The goal of this strategy is to reduce GHG emissions by 30% from BAU by 2020 and increase country’s renewable energy mix to 11% by 2030. In 2010, the Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Research Center of Korea were established in 2010 to systematically manage and analyze national GHG inventory. On April 6, 2010, the Korean government passed the Enforcement Decree of the Framework Act on Low Carbon. The framework Act takes precedence over all other Acts regarding low carbon green growth. The Act provides frameworks for mid-term and long term emission reduction targets, carbon disclosure, carbon labeling, carbon taxation, growth or RE use and the foundation for a carbon trading system. In April 2011, the South Korean government released the final draft of the three-phased cap-and-trade scheme which covers 490 of the country’s largest emitters (approx. 60% of country’s annual GHG emissions).
The Korea Environment Corporation (KECO) under the Ministry of Environment is responsible for (1) generating GHG emissions estimates for the waste sector, (2) serving as the designated agency for CDM projects and (3) implementing the GHG emission trading pilot project. The GHG certification center under KECO is the accredited DOE for CDM by UNFCCC. The Korea Energy Management Corporation (KEMCO) implements various projects aimed at rationalizing energy use such as energy efficiency standards and labeling for appliances and energy equipment, promoting energy conservation and developing and supplying technologies for new and renewable energy. To reduce emissions from transportation sector, the Ministry of Environment is working on a Low Carbon Vehicle Fund system which will aid expansion of Zero Emission Vehicles that are based on renewable energy; the system is planned for a January 2015 launch.
 Source: http://forums.asialeds.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Green-Growth-in-Korea.pdf (accessed on November 21 2013)
 Source: Environment Defense Fund- http://www.edf.org/sites/default/files/EDF_IETA_Korea_Case_Study_September_2013.pdf(accessed on November 21 2013)
 Source: KEMCO- http://www.kemco.or.kr/new_eng/pg01/pg01050000.asp(accessed on November 21 2013)
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