Korea’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions climbed 3.5% year on year in 2021 to 679.6 million tonnes, the country’s Ministry of Environment said on Tuesday.
The ministry’s National Center for Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Research (GIR) stated that economic recovery from the pandemic-driven recession has boosted the country’s overall industrial output and led to the increase in GHG emissions.
The research was based on detailed data of energy resources used in electricity generation, exports and imports, and livestock management in 2021.
According to the GIR, citing the International Energy Agency’s data of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions in 2021, Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions increased at a slower pace than the global average of 5.7%, as well as that of other advanced countries, such as the United States (6.2%), the European Union (7%) and China (4.8%).
The energy sector contributed for about 87% of the country’s GHG emissions in 2021, accounting for 590 million tonnes, a 4-million-tonne increase from 2020. The total quantity of power output in 2021 increased year on year, however, this was countered by a decrease in coal use and an increase in LNG and renewable energy sources.
Emissions from the manufacturing industry, which includes chemical and steel manufacturers, grew by 12.7 million tonnes over the previous year. In the transportation sector, on the other hand, GHG emissions grew by 1.6 million tonnes year on year in 2021 due to higher traffic volume and rising gasoline and diesel use.
In 2021, the industrial production sector emitted 51 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions, a 5.2% increase over the previous year and accounting for 7.5% of total emissions, owing to increased cement and semiconductor production.
In terms of GDP, 356 tonnes of GHG emissions per billion won (US$770,000) were recorded in 2021. According to the GIR, the annual figure has been steadily declining since 2011.
Furthermore, greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 are expected to be 6.5% lower than in 2018, when they peaked at 727 million tonnes across the country.