The Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Research Center of the Ministry of Environment announced on Oct. 7 that South Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions totaled a record high of 709.14 million tons in 2017, up 2.4 percent from a year earlier. The previous high was 696.7 million tons in 2013.
Specifically, greenhouse gas emissions for electricity and heat production, the steel industry’s emissions, and fluorine gas emissions increased 3.5 percent, 6.5 percent, and 20.6 percent, respectively. “When it comes to electricity and heat production, emissions from coal increased by no less than 12.6 million tons from the previous year,” the ministry explained, adding, “This is because new facilities approved by the previous government were installed while some old coal-fired power stations were shut down by the current government in 2017 in accordance with its policies.”
The emissions from the steel industry increased along with crude steel production with steel product exports recovering and fluorine gas emissions increased as a result of an increase in refrigerant gas imports. The energy, industrial process, agricultural and waste disposal sectors accounted for 86.8 percent, 7.9 percent, 2.9 percent and 2.4 percent of the total emissions, respectively. The emissions from the industrial process sector added up to 56 million tons with a year-on-year increase of 6 percent.
In 2017, South Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions per one billion won in GDP decreased 0.7 percent year on year to 456 tons, the lowest level since 1990. This means its greenhouse gas emission efficiency improved although its total emissions increased.