Climate Change

08 Aug 2021

South Korea Eyes Coal, Gas cuts in 2050 net zero plans

08 Aug 2021  by   
South Korea has published three potential road maps to reach its target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, ahead of a final decision on its plan later this year.

The options range from the total elimination of coal and gas from the energy mix, to a continued reliance on thermal fuels supported by the use of carbon capture, storage and utilisation (CCUS) technology to cut emissions.

The road maps were announced today by South Korea's presidential committee on carbon neutrality, which is co-chaired by the country's prime minister Kim Boo-kyum.

The first plan assumes the continued burning of coal and regasified LNG as generation fuels, with seven of Korea's coal-fired power plants that have not yet reached the end of their lifespans still operational in 2050. CCUS technology plays a key role in meeting the country's carbon goals in this plan.

Under the second road map, Korea stops using coal as a generation fuel but keeps a role for LNG as a flexible power source to meet urgent demand. This plan requires a big change in consumers' energy consumption habits in order to meet the emissions targets.

In the third scenario, coal and LNG use is eliminated in favour of green hydrogen, for a 100pc cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The government sees a continued role for nuclear power in all three scenarios, although at a much lower share of the energy mix than currently.

Sector-by-sector plans outline the potential for big cuts in emissions from industry, transport, construction, agriculture and others. The transportation plans assume a major increase in the use of electric- and hydrogen-powered vehicles, which make up as much as 97pc of the total fleet in the most aggressive scenario.

The government plans to produce a single draft roadmap by the end of October after getting feedback from business, local authorities and the public.

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