By Yi Whan-woo
Korea will begin greenhouse gas emission trading from 2015 as part of its efforts to tackle climate change and promote low-carbon, green growth.
The measure comes after the National Assembly approved a bill on emission trading on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Thursday that the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions is to cope with industrialized countries’ policies which put weight on the energy efficiency system to counter global warming.
Korea is among the world’s top 15 greenhouse gas emitters globally, and the country has sought to put a trading system in place. The country announced in 2009 that it will reduce its greenhouse gas emission levels by 30 percent by 2020.
The plan led to “Green Protectionism,” a system that links environment with trade in order to prevent excessive use of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.
It requires the government and companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or to buy rights to release gases if they have difficulty meeting the levels set by the international community.
The government expects the nation to develop green technologies and play a role in an international carbon exchange sector that has already grown into a $141.9 billion market since 2010.
It will establish guidelines and push forward support measures to help businesses meet reduction goals once the trading system becomes practical.
The specifics will be announced later this year. Meanwhile, the government will begin enforcement with penalties and fines for violators.
The rules will be similar to those in countries like Australia and New Zealand and in the European Union.
“We, however, will make sure that the regulations fit the local market to make the regulations practical and effective,” an official said.
Companies that emit more than 125,000 tons of greenhouse gas per year are expected to apply. Plants that emit 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide will also come under the new restrictions, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.