SEOUL, Nov 14 (Reuters) - South Korea will start charging companies for a portion of carbon emission permits from 2018, two years earlier than its draft proposal, a scheme businesses say will cost them billions of dollars.
The carbon emission permit programme will start in January of 2015. Each permit represents a tonne of carbon emissions, with free permits awarded for the first three years, said a statement from the government's environment committee web site (www.greengrowth.go.kr).
From 2018 to 2020, 97 percent of permits will be awarded for free, and from 2021 to 2025 less than 90 percent of permits will be free, and the rest auctioned. The previous government draft said all permits would be free until 2020.
The Federation of Korean Industries, the nation's top industry body, has said the scheme will add unnecessary costs, and that competitor Japan has yet to put a price on carbon.
Top South Korean emitters include major employers such as POSCO and Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest electronics firm by revenue. ($1 = 1089.9400 Korean won) (Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)