South Korea became the latest major global economy to push carbon neutrality promise to the forefront, President Moon Moon Jae-in declared during a policy speech to the national assembly on Wednesday.
South Korea joins Japan, EU and China to make similar commitments in a matter of few weeks to battle climate change.
President Moon said, addressing the national assembly that his nation will work actively to respond to the climate threat in tandem with the international community and consequently attain carbon neutrality by 2050.
South Korea is one of the world’s most fossil-fuel reliant nations with coal making up 40% of the electric power.
The President’s recent announcement is in line with the proposals made by Moon Jae-in’s ruling party before the April elections, the Guardian noted.
Announcing the policies, he said the nation under its ambitious ‘Green New Deal’ will inject 8 trillion won ($7.10 billion) in the economy to pull the nation out of reliance on coal and make foundations for renewable energy technology and automobiles, local media reported.
“The 2021 budget bill the government is submitting is a budget for ‘overcoming the era of crisis to rise as a leading nation,’” Moon said referring to the trillions of won allocated for development across the economy.
Environment activists welcomed South Korea’s move but warned that the nation might have to alter its energy policies to meet the 2050 goals in-line with the Paris agreement.
Moon emphasized that South Korea will aim to have 1.13 million electric vehicles (EVs) and 200,000 hydrogen cars on the roads by 2025, while a part of the fund will go on to enhance public infrastructure, including making urban forests, setting up robust recycling efforts and setting sustainable industry.
“This is a very positive step in the right direction after Korea’s exemplary Green New Deal which was announced in July,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson of the UN said in a statement to Reuters.
Notwithstanding the current 2050 Carbon-Neutrality target, Climate Action Tracker — a website that gauges the efficacy of climate change policies by nations, says South Korea “fall outside of a country’s “fair share” range and are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2-degree Celsius, let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5 degree Celsius limit.”