Pledges And Targets
South Korea signed the Paris Agreement on 22 April 2016, and ratified it on 3 November 2016. Its NDC proposes an economy-wide target to reduce GHG emissions by 37% below business-as-usual (BAU) emissions of 850.6 MtCO2e/year in 2030 (Republic of Korea, 2015). In absolute terms, this is a target of 536 MtCO2e/year excluding land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) (equivalent to 81% above 1990 emission levels).
South Korea intends to achieve a 25.7% emissions reduction below BAU domestically (equivalent to 115% above 1990 emission levels, excluding LULUCF). The remaining 11.3% will be achieved through international market mechanisms (Ministry of Environment, 2015).
South Korea’s NDC is an economy-wide pledge covering all greenhouse gases. It states that a decision on the inclusion of the LULUCF sector, and the accounting rules to use for it, will be made “a later stage” (Republic of Korea, 2015). Our current analysis treats South Korea’s NDC target as excluding LULUCF. South Korea’s LULUCF sector has been a small sink of between 34 and 59 MtCO2e/year over 1990-2014 (UNFCCC, 2017) and is projected to remain a sink of 24 MtCO2e by 2020 (Republic of Korea, 2012).
Under the Copenhagen Accord, South Korea agreed to reduce its emissions by 30% below business-as-usual (BAU) emissions by 2020. It proposed this unconditional target in November 2009 and submitted it to the Copenhagen Accord on 25 January 2010.
Under the BAU projections from the Third National Communication, this pledge would have resulted in emissions of 543 MtCO2e/year in 2020 excluding LULUCF. This represents an increase of 84% in GHGs from 1990 emissions levels.
However, South Korea has replaced the 2020 pledge by the weaker 2030 NDC target in its updated Green Growth Act (Republic of Korea, 2016). Although the Copenhagen pledge has not officially been withdrawn, it is no longer actively pursued. We therefore no longer take this target into account when calculating the global temperature increase resulting from the current pledges of all countries.