South Korea has taken a major step forward after approving legislation to introduce a national emissions trading scheme from 2015, laying groundwork for the third emissions trading programme in the Asia-Pacific region.
Approval came from a special committee of the National Assembly on climate change and the bill will now go to the nation's Legislation and Judiciary Committee and agreed at the assembly's plenary session on Feb. 16 before being written into law.
The proposals continue to face fierce opposition from some leading energy firms and industrial groups. As a result, the government has agreed to delay the start of cap and trade to 2015 after consulting with companies, the vice minister said.
"Our position remains intact," Im Sang Hyug, deputy secretary general of the Federation of Korean Industries, told lawmakers at this week's meeting. The association has about 509 large companies as members. "We are opposing the legislation on carbon-emissions trading. It's doubtful whether we need the bill, as government targets for cuts already began this year."
"The legislation is the first step toward becoming an advanced country," Kim Jae Yun, an opposition party member, said at the committee meeting today. "We can resolve what companies are concerned with."
President Lee Myung Bak is keen to see the legislation passed ahead of the general election to avoid the long-running measures being stalled once again. "We need to give incentives to companies that made faithful commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Yoon Jong Soo, vice minister for the environment, said today. "The bill will give more flexibility to companies by allowing the trade of emission rights."
Image source: http://climatechangeadaptation.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/update-on-japans-and-south-koreas-emissions-trading-schemes