We rate South Korea’s 2030 target “Highly insufficient.” The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that South Korea’s climate commitment in 2030 is not consistent with holding warming to below 2°C, let alone limiting it to 1.5°C as required under the Paris Agreement, and is instead consistent with warming between 3°C and 4°C: if all countries were to follow South Korea’s approach, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C. This means South Korea’s climate commitment is not in line with any interpretation of a “fair” approach to the former 2°C goal, let alone the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
The CAT ratings are based on climate commitments in (I)NDCs. In particular, the CAT rates the overall (I)NDC target, which could be met through a combination of domestic emission reductions and the purchase of credits through international market mechanisms. South Korea’s NDC indicates that it intends to meet its target in such a manner.
If the CAT were to rate South Korea’s projected emissions levels in 2030 under current policies—which does not include the new administration’s proposed changes to the electricity generation mix—we would rate South Korea “Critically insufficient,” indicating that South Korea’s current policies in 2030 are consistent with a warming of over 4°C: if all countries were to follow South Korea’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C. This means South Korea’s current policies are not in line with any interpretation of a “fair” approach to the former 2°C goal, let alone the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
Further information about the risks and impacts associated with the temperature levels of each of the categories are available on the CAT website.