Historical emissions in South Korea were taken from the latest national inventories published in January 2020 (Greenhouse Gas Inventory & Research Center of Korea, 2020). These data are displayed in SAR GWPs and are updated in AR4 based on detailed data by gas. The 2030 NDC target was calculated based on the accompanying BAU scenario (Republic of Korea, 2015). The target is calculated excluding LULUCF emissions.
NDC and other targets
BAU projections for the 2020 pledge were taken from the Third National Communication (Republic of Korea, 2012) whilst the BAU for NDC is taken directly from the NDC pledge. We no longer consider the 2020 pledge when calculating the global temperature rise associated with the aggregated pledges of all countries. Both targets were defined in GWPs from SAR and therefore updated to AR4 in our assessment by harmonising given data with data on historical emissions.
Current policy projections
Current trend projections are based on the BAU scenario from the 7th Edition of APEC Energy Demand and Supply Outlook (APERC, 2019) and the US EPA non-CO2 emission projections until 2030 (US EPA, 2019). Non-energy related CO2 emissions are assumed to remain constant at the 2014 level. For the upper end of the range we use the APERC BAU scenario directly. Under this scenario the share of renewables in total electricity generation in 2030 reaches 7.6%. There are, however, other analyses that project higher renewable electricity shares (17% by Wood Mackenzie (Wood Mackenzie, 2019) and 14% by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (Keramidas et al., 2018)). Therefore, the upper bound emissions projections represent the electricity mix as projected by the APEC Outlook, while the lower bound emissions projections represent an adapted electricity mix in which renewable electricity share reaches 17% by 2030 by replacing coal-fired power generation. The average electricity CO2 emission factors for fossil fuel-fired power generation displaced by renewables in 2030 per fuel type were assumed to be similar to the 2016 levels as reported by IEA (IEA, 2018).
We applied a novel method to estimate the COVID-19-related dip in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 and the deployment through to 2030. The uncertainty surrounding the severity and length of the pandemic creates a new level of uncertainty for current and future greenhouse gas emissions.
We first update the current policy projections using most recent projections, usually prepared before the pandemic. We then distil the emissions intensity (GHG emissions/GDP) from this pre-pandemic scenario and apply to it most recent GDP projections that take into account the effect of the pandemic. To capture a wide range, we used GDP projections by IMF and OECD for 2020 and 2021 (IMF, 2020; OECD, 2020). For years after 2020, we use the GDP growth until 2030 that was used as a basis for the original pre-pandemic current policy scenario. GDP projections from the South Korean government and the Bank of Korea were not used in the calculations because they only provide 2020 projections and no 2021 projections; their 2020 projections are a little higher than the IMF and OECD projections (-0.2% to +0.1%, compared to -2.5% to -1.2%).
Global Warming Potential values
The CAT uses Global Warming Potential (GWP) values from the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) for all its figures and time series. Assessments completed prior to December 2018 (COP24) used GWP values from the Second Assessment Report (SAR).