South Korea

Critically Insufficient4°C+
World
Commitments with this rating fall well outside the fair share range and are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government targets were in this range, warming would exceed 4°C.
Highly insufficient< 4°C
World
Commitments with this rating fall outside the fair share range and are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government targets were in this range, warming would reach between 3°C and 4°C.
Insufficient< 3°C
World
Commitments with this rating are in the least stringent part of their fair share range and not consistent with holding warming below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government targets were in this range, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
2°C Compatible< 2°C
World
Commitments with this rating are consistent with the 2009 Copenhagen 2°C goal and therefore fall within the country’s fair share range, but are not fully consistent with the Paris Agreement. If all government targets were in this range, warming could be held below, but not well below, 2°C and still be too high to be consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit.
1.5°C Paris Agreement Compatible< 1.5°C
World
This rating indicates that a government’s efforts are in the most stringent part of its fair share range: it is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
Role model<< 1.5°C
World
This rating indicates that a government’s efforts are more ambitious than what is considered a fair contribution: it is more than consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.

Global warming potentials

Previous assessments of the Climate Action Tracker used the global warming potentials (GWPs) from the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report (SAR). For this assessment we have updated all figures and time series to GWPs from the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Historical emissions

Historical emissions in South Korea were taken from the national inventories submitted to UNFCCC (2017). UNFCCC 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.

Pledges and 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 target. 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 new assessment by harmonising given data with UNFCCC historical data.

Current policy projections

Current trend projections are based on the BAU scenario from the 6th Edition of APEC Energy Demand and Supply Outlook (APERC, 2016) and the US EPA non-CO2 emission projections until 2030 (USEPA, 2012). 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. This scenario reaches 3.7% of renewable power generation in 2024, growing further to 4.7% in 2030. For the lower end of the range we adjusted the scenario based on the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), assuming 10% of renewable power generation is achieved by 2024 and sustained up to 2030.

To estimate the impact of the new “Plan for Electricity Supply and Demand”, the announced shares of generation per technology were firstly scaled up to cover the 1.2% of generation that was not allocated to a particular generating technology. These shares were then multiplied by the total generation under a BAU scenario in 2030 (APERC, 2016) decreased to 579.5 TWh to take into account the expected decrease in electricity demand (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, 2017b). The generation per technology was multiplied by emission factors for each fossil fuel generating technology in 2014 (IEA, 2017) (emission factors in 2030 used in the APERC BAU scenario are unavailable) to obtain a first estimate of electricity-related emissions under the announced generation mix.

The first-estimate emissions level was then compared to calculated emission levels resulting from APERC BAU when using the same emission factors from the IEA (2017) (these appear to be slightly higher than the emission factors in 2030 used in APERC (2016)). This relative impact was then converted into a final estimate of the electricity-related emissions savings under the announced generation mix by multiplying this relative impact by the absolute emission levels under the APERC BAU scenario.

Latest publications

Stay informed

Subscribe to our newsletter