The South Korean government said last Thursday that it would distribute 1.687 billion metric tons of carbon-equivalent emission permits from 2015-17 as part of its trading scheme. It was originally expected that 1.64 billion metric tons would be distributed.
South Korea is one of the world’s top 10 carbon producers, so steps it takes to curb emissions are key to global efforts to combat greenhouse gases. The country wants to cut emissions in 2020 to 30 percent below business-as-usual levels.
Earlier this month the South Korean finance minister said the government was looking into measures to ease the impact of the carbon permit trading program on its industry. The trading program plays a major role in the country’s effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Under such cap-and-trade programs, companies or countries face a limit on carbon emissions. If they need to exceed their quota, they can buy allowances from others.
Of the country’s total permits, 1.598 billion will be distributed to the 526 covered emitters before trading starts, with the remaining 89 million distributed between 2015 and 2017, according to a statement by the environment ministry.
A report by Thomson Reuters Point Carbon earlier this year said that South Korea’s unwillingness to amend estimates of future greenhouse gas emissions could push its carbon price up to $93 per metric ton of CO2 when its cap and trade scheme launches in 2015. The price of $93 is nearly 10 times higher than that of Europe’s.
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