Press releases

Climate Action Tracker: South Korea’s draft climate action plan “inadequate”

Published: 26/06/2015

26 June 2015 - An international research group, the Climate Action Tracker, has labelled all four of the South Korean Government’s options for climate action as “inadequate.” 

The Climate Action Tracker is an analysis by four research organisations that measures Government action against the globally agreed goal of holding warming below 2°C. It has looked at the detail of South Korea’s proposed climate plans ahead of the Paris climate talks later this year. The full analysis is here.

On 11 June 2015 South Korea announced four options for its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), ranging from 14.7% to 31.3% below business-as-usual (BAU) by 2030. This is equivalent to 98–146% above 1990 emissions levels excluding land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF).

All of the proposed options are less ambitious than South Korea’s 2020 pledge and would allow emissions to increase after 2020.

“South Korea needs to take urgent action to meet its 2020 pledge. The proposed four options for its INDC show that South Korea is not intending to reach a peak in GHG emissions, allowing 2030 emissions to exceed the 2020 pledge,” said Kornelis Blok of Ecofys.

“Even the most stringent of the four proposed options cannot be called ambitious”, “To show it’s serious about tackling climate change, South Korea should submit an INDC that goes beyond the current options,” he said. 

The “inadequate” rating indicates that the South Korea’s proposed contributions are not in line with interpretations of a “fair” approach to reach a 2°C pathway. This means the options for its INDC are not consistent with holding warming below 2°C unless other countries make much deeper reductions and comparably greater effort: if most other countries followed South Korea’s proposed approach global warming would exceed 3–4°C.

“There is a growing gap between South Korea’s 2020 pledge and its climate policies to meet that pledge - and its recently launched emissions trading scheme is not stringent enough to address this,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics.

South Korea’s pledge to reduce emissions by 30% below BAU in 2020 (84% above 1990 emission levels) was rated “medium,” indicating that indicates that their climate plans are at the least ambitious end of what would be a fair contribution.

Prof Kornelis Blok, Ecofys, +31 30 662 3399
Dr Bill Hare: +49 +49-160-908-62463

Climate Action Tracker is an independent science-based assessment that tracks the emission commitments and actions of countries.  It is a joint project of the following organisations:

Climate Analytics
Climate Analytics is a non-profit organization based in Potsdam, Germany. It has been established to synthesize climate science and policy research that is relevant for international climate policy negotiations. It aims to provide scientific, policy and analytical support for Small Island States (SIDS) and the least developed country group (LDCs) negotiators, as well as non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders in the ‘post-2012’ negotiations. Furthermore, it assists in building in-house capacity within SIDS and LDCs.

Ecofys – Experts in Energy 
Established in 1984 with the mission of achieving “sustainable energy for everyone”, Ecofys has become the leading expert in renewable energy, energy & carbon efficiency, energy systems & markets as well as energy & climate policy. The unique synergy between those areas of expertise is the key to its success. Ecofys creates smart, effective, practical and sustainable solutions for and with public and corporate clients all over the world. With offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and the US, Ecofys employs over 250 experts dedicated to solving energy and climate challenges.

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
The PIK conducts research into global climate change and issues of sustainable development. Set up in 1992, the Institute is regarded as a pioneer in interdisciplinary research and as one of the world's leading establishments in this field. Scientists, economists and social scientists work together, investigating how the earth is changing as a system, studying the ecological, economic and social consequences of climate change, and assessing which strategies are appropriate for sustainable development.

NewClimate Institute
NewClimate Institute is a non-profit institute established in 2014. NewClimate Institute supports research and implementation of action against climate change around the globe, covering the topics international climate negotiations, tracking climate action, climate and development, climate finance and carbon market mechanisms. NewClimate Institute aims at connecting up-to-date research with the real world decision making processes.