Top coal financier, South Korea has just committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. The announcement comes just after the recent pledges of China and Japan. South Korea is the world 7th largest emitter, and 12th largest economy according to the World Bank.

As Carbon Brief highlights this means two-thirds of the world’s coal use & nearly half of its CO2 emissions are now covered by national or regional net-zero goals.

In his announcement this morning President Moon stated: “Together with global communities, the government will actively tackle climate change, and move toward the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Transitioning from coal to renewable energy, the government will create new markets, industries and jobs.”

South Korea is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Coal is currently the dominant fossil fuel used in Korea and the country is also the third largest importer of LNG in the world. To reach net-zero President Moon will need to roll out detailed plans to decarbonise its economy.

Korean companies are taking initial steps to shift away from coal. Last month, KB Financial Group, Samsung C&T and KEPCO announced exits from thermal coal. However, KEPCO, Samsung C&T, and other prominent companies had been widely criticised for supporting large coal power projects both domestically and overseas..

Countries are expected to submit updated climate plans ahead of the COP26. Previously, Climate Action Tracker rated Korea’s targets as highly insufficient. Korea is yet to hand in its updated 2030 targets, which will be essential to reach its 2050 targets.

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