South Korea and Mexico have announced that they will set carbon emission targets ahead of the global climate meeting in Copenhagen this December. Industrialized nations could see these announcements as positive signs, hoping they will push developing countries like China and India to set their own goals to curb emissions.
Global climate talks have nearly stalled over the past year as developing countries continue to demand that rich nations pay for emission cuts needed to slow global warming.
China, India and other Asian countries are responsible for one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and are expected to generate more than 40 percent of the world’s emissions by 2030, according to data released at a climate change conference in the Philippines, reports the Heartland Institute. It’s also estimated that China will produce 74 percent of the total increase in the world’s coal-related carbon dioxide emissions between 2006 and 2030, reports Heartland.
Both China and India have stated that they have no plans to curb their emissions.
The good news: South Korea has committed to establish a 2020 emissions reduction target this year based on one of three options — an 8 percent increase from 2005 levels by 2020, unchanged from 2005, or 4 percent below 2005, reports Reuters.
South Korea’s emissions reached 11.1 metric tons per person in 2005, making it the fastest-growing carbon polluter in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to Reuters.
South Korea said it plans to achieve its carbon reduction goal through several measures. These include increasing the use of hybrid cars, renewable and nuclear energy, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for energy efficiency and smart grids, according to the article.
The South Korean government said last month it would invest 107 trillion won ($87.56 billion) in environment-related industries over the next five years, reports Reuters.
In January, South Korea unveiled a “Green New Deal Job Creation Plan,” investing 50 trillion won ($38 billion) toward environmentally-friendly projects. The government also recently signed a deal with Ericsson to build a $1.5 billion experimental 4G network in the nation, which hopes to use 4G technologies to develop sustainable climate solutions.
Although the cuts in carbon emissions are small officials said in the article that it will eliminate an estimated 30 percent rise in emissions if South Korea took no action.
Mexico announced it will release its plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the global climate talks in Copenhagen, reports Reuters. In June, President Felipe Calderon said Mexico would voluntarily cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 million tons a year or an estimated 8 percent, by 2012.
The mitigation plan is expected to include significant cuts in expected emissions growth from Mexico, which currently accounts for 1.5 percent of global emissions, reports Reuters. The challenge is making significant legal changes to meet the emission targets, particularly in the electricity and oil sectors that are closed to private investment, in light of the recent congressional election win by the Institutional Revolution Party, according to Reuters.
Likely, it will be an uphill battle. The Institutional Revolution Party blocked President Calderon’s move to open up oil refining to private investment last year and says it will protect state run utilities, reports Reuters.