In October 2020, Korea – the world’s eleventh largest greenhouse gas emitter – pledged to become climate neutral by 2050. Just a year later, the Korean government adopted an enhanced NDC target for 2030: to achieve a 40% reduction in relation to 2018.
Korea’s existing commitments are highly laudable. However, Korean commentators and international organizations have noted that the Korean NDC target for 2030 – which relies on international carbon credits, as well as CCUS – is insufficient and incompatible with the 1.5°C target set forth by the Paris Agreement. In addition, while targets are important, a concrete implementation pathway for Korea that is undergirded by sound policy instruments has been lacking to date.
Against this backdrop, three leading Korean climate and energy think-tanks – the Green Energy Strategy Institute, Institute for Green Transformation, and NEXT Group – have developed a detailed and ambitious climate neutrality roadmap for Korea called the “K-map”. The research for this roadmap was performed in partnership with Agora Energiewende and close consultation with various expert organizations in Germany.
This study investigates the optimal path for Korean emission reductions in each sector (power, industry, buildings, transport, and agriculture) and calculates associated investment requirements. With less than eight years to 2030, the next Korean administration that takes office in spring 2022 has a journey of great importance to undertake. We hope this study will help Korean policymakers successfully navigate the challenges ahead.