Korean Climate Coalition Responds to President’s 2050 Carbon Neutrality Statement

Korean Climate Coalition Responds to President’s 2050 Carbon Neutrality Statement

Statement represents success of years of citizen action.

Statement undermined by governments continuing support for coal projects and lack of clear roadmap for achieving carbon neutrality.

Korea must strengthen its 2030 emissions reduction targets, if it ever hopes to achieve 2050 carbon neutrality.

On October 28, during his National Assembly address, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for a ‘move towards the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.’ 2050 carbon neutrality is a minimum requirement if we hope to limit global temperature increases to 1.5° C. Korea’s Climate Crisis Emergency Action network believes that this statement is a success achieved through the actions of countless citizens fighting against the climate crisis.

As the fifth largest GHG emitter in the OECD, South Korea must make dramatic efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. However numerous government policies that are antithetical to this goal must first be addressed. For example: continuing investment in foreign coal-fired power plant projects in Indonesia and Vietnam; new coal-fired power plant construction in Korea; the lack of a clear roadmap to carbon neutrality; and a Green New Deal that is more focussed on the economy than the climate crisis.

South Korea will submit its updated 2030 National Determined Contributions (NDC) to the UN this year, but it has refused to strengthen its emissions reduction targets. Without this, achieving 2050 carbon neutrality is impossible. The government must make significant changes to its 2030 NDCs and 2050 Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS). The 2030 NDC must be reduced by half, and the 2050 LEDS should clearly state the goal of zero emissions.

In addition, major government ministries such as MOTIE, MOEF, and MOLIT, require a drastic change in policy so that they in fact support, rather than hinder the goal of 2050 carbon neutrality. Such ministries must stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants, withdraw support for the second Jeju airport, and lead the country away from internal combustion vehicles. Support for climate sensitive agricultural policies and a just transition for citizens is also essential.

President Moon Jae-in’s statement spoke more of the economic opportunities of climate change polices, than of the need to address this crisis. We cannot solve this crisis, by following the same economic growth paradigm that created the emergency in the first place. The 2050 carbon neutrality statement must be a starting point for a fundamental change in our society.

Climate Crisis Emergency Action network

Contact: Secretariat Ji-eon Lee (82-10-9963-9818)  Policy and Press, In-cheol Hwang (82-10-3744-6126)