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S. Korea may delay carbon trading system: official

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Feb 10, 2011
South Korea may not set up a carbon credit system by 2013 as planned because it needs more time to create a viable formula for reducing emissions without hurting growth, a top official said Thursday.

"There is a need to carefully examine what kind of side effects a carbon trading system will have and see if it can be effective in reducing emissions levels," Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Joong-Kyung told reporters.

Carbon credit systems require companies to reduce greenhouse emissions levels or buy the rights to release gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

South Korea's economy is highly energy intensive due to its reliance on manufacturing.

The country has set an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by four percent by 2020 from the 2005 level.

The move, however, has raised concerns that it would only benefit business rivals like China or prompt energy-intensive firms to relocate overseas.

Choi said the government needed more time to set up a viable formula capable of coping with speculation, technological advances and individual market conditions.

He said it was necessary to examine in detail individual industries to reflect future growth prospects and possible technology advances.

The South's business community has said that adopting a fully fledged carbon exchange market could lead to a drop in international competitiveness and higher costs.

"If a certain industry is already going downhill, setting emissions limits and giving credit that can be sold make little sense, while imposing strict standards on sectors that are growing at a fast pace can have adverse repercussions," Choi said.

Introducing a carbon exchange market was part of broader efforts to improve energy efficiency, cut back on energy use and shift to renewable energy resources, he added.

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