Aug 14 South Korea decided on Thursday that its
carbon trading market will go ahead as planned on Jan. 1 of next
year, despite the finance minister's calls last month for it to
South Korea's scheme - the government's key policy to meet
its targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 to 30
percent below business-as-usual levels - will be the world's
second biggest carbon market when it launches.
As proposed, the scheme will cap greenhouse gas emissions
from over 400 of the country's largest energy generators and
manufacturers, and force companies to buy extra permits if they
emit more than they have free allowances for.
The Ministry of Environment (MOE) will implement the scheme
on Jan. 1, 2015, as previously planned, a spokeswoman with the
ministry told Reuters. The decision came in a meeting on
Thursday that included officials from the environment, finance
and trade ministries, she said.
Industry groups say the emissions cap has been set too
tight, and that the scheme would put a $29 billion burden on the
South Korean economy, prompting Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan
to suggest the scheme should be delayed.
"It is such a great burden as the government goes ahead with
the scheme while the number of permits they offer is much
smaller than those we require," said a senior official at the
country's business lobby group Federation of Korean Industries
The government has estimated that South Korea's carbon
permits will trade at around $20 each, but some analysts say the
price might be significantly higher because emissions are likely
to exceed government predictions.
In order to ease the burden on emitters, the ministry had
agreed to increase the number of permits handed out to industry,
the MOE spokeswoman said.
Officials have yet to decide exactly how many extra permits
will be handed out, but according to government sources it is
likely to be around 10 million to 20 million extra over the
three-year period to 2017, around 1 to 2 percent of the total.
The FKI official said an addition of that size would still
not provide the number of permits needed by South Korean
industries that fall under the scheme.
The European Union operates the world's biggest emissions
market, while Kazakhstan and New Zealand also operate schemes.
Two regional schemes have been launched in the United
States, the biggest one in California. China - the world's
biggest-emitting nation - has launched seven pilot schemes ahead
of a national market planned for later in the decade.
(Additional reporting by Meeyoung Cho in SEOUL; Editing by Tom