WASHINGTON — The United States is looking on South Korea to set extra bold local weather targets, a difficulty that will likely be part of discussions when President Moon Jae-in meets with President Biden on Friday on the White House.
Last month John Kerry, Mr. Biden’s worldwide local weather envoy, traveled to South Korea and, in line with officers in each international locations, shocked members of Mr. Moon’s authorities by suggesting the nation take “corresponding efforts” to the United States in lowering planet-warming emissions. That would almost double South Korea’s present goal of chopping carbon 24.four p.c beneath 2017 ranges by the tip of the last decade.
South Korea, the world’s seventh-largest emitter of planet-warming carbon dioxide, is necessary to the Biden administration’s effort to indicate that different industrialized international locations are appearing vigorously towards local weather change.
“South Korea is one of the major countries that can say, ‘Look, together with America we are doing this’ so Biden doesn’t stand on the podium alone,” stated Chung Min Lee, a senior fellow on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The largest consideration, after all, is China, whose greenhouse gasoline emissions now surpass all developed nations mixed. China has vowed to peak its emissions no later than 2030 and attain net-zero by 2060 — however up to now has been reluctant to decide to new targets.
On their very own, bold new targets from South Korea are unlikely to strain China, Mr. Lee stated. But, if the federal government aligns itself with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue — a coalition of the United States, Japan, India and Australia that goals to function a counterweight to China — to work on local weather change and different points, “it will show China that we speak with one voice, as we did in the Cold War with the Soviet Union.”
The United States beneath Mr. Biden has pledged to chop emissions 50 p.c to 52 p.c from 2005 ranges by the tip of this decade, with a purpose of attaining carbon neutrality by midcentury. That’s the place most nations must be to be able to maintain world temperature will increase to 1.5 levels Celsius above preindustrial ranges and keep away from the worst impacts of warming, scientists say.
South Korea has made the setting a central pillar in its financial restoration from the coronavirus pandemic, beginning a multibillion greenback program to spend money on electrical autos, battery storage, good grids and offshore wind farms. The nation additionally has pledged to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 and, at an international climate change summit that Mr. Biden hosted final month, promised to finish funding of abroad coal vegetation.
At the identical time, Korea has seven coal vegetation beneath development, in line with the Global Energy Monitor, a San Francisco-based group that follows fossil gasoline tasks. And, a brand new research by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology discovered that except the federal government enacted aggressive new insurance policies, the nation would “fall embarrassingly short” in assembly its present targets.
In a letter final week to Mr. Moon, former Vice President Al Gore urged him to set a goal of no less than 50 p.c to “help protect the future of our planet.” More bold objectives, Mr. Gore stated, “would have a ripple effect on the climate policies of countries around the world.”
As a extremely industrialized nation that’s closely depending on coal and imports just about all of its oil and gasoline, South Korea faces severe challenges in assembly the United States’ and environmental teams’ expectations.
Won Hee-ryong, the governor of Jeju Province in South Korea, stated he believed the federal government should enhance its goal, however he referred to as hitting 50 p.c “challenging.” Speaking Wednesday at a discussion board sponsored by World Resources Institute, Mr. Won stated a extra affordable purpose may be round 37 p.c.
“It may be difficult for Korea to commit to an emissions target as ambitious as the United States, given that our emissions peaked only three years ago,” he stated.
A senior administration official, talking at a background briefing for reporters, stated Mr. Biden meant to debate with Mr. Moon methods each nations might eradicate carbon dioxide emissions from their energy sectors and different elements of the economic system, saying there could be “more to report” after the Friday assembly.