SEOUL, June 8 (Korea Bizwire) — Greenhouse gas emissions fell by 7.3 percent last year from 2019, the first time there has been a decrease for two consecutive years, the environment ministry said Tuesday.
The ministry’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Research Center said total emissions last year are estimated at 648.6 million tons, down 7.3 percent from 2019, and down 10.9 percent from 2018, when the level of emissions was the highest at 727.6 million tons.
The decrease was caused in part by less economic activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it said, citing reductions of 7.8 percent in the energy sector and 7.1 percent in industrial processes.
In the energy sector, emissions from power generation fell by 12.4 percent due to less use of coal and more use of renewable energy sources in line with the government’s policies to fight fine dust and climate change.
Emissions from the transportation sector, which also falls under the broader energy sector, decreased by 4.1 percent due to reduced travel amid the pandemic and the wider use of low-emission vehicles.
Social distancing restrictions and bans on gatherings led to 2 percent and 5 percent drops in the respective consumption of gasoline and diesel, while the amount of traffic on expressways fell by 3 percent.
Emissions from homes rose slightly by 0.3 percent, and fell by 9.9 percent at business establishments and in the public sector.
The ratio of emissions per 1 billion won (US$897,000) of gross domestic product fell to 354 tons, the lowest since the government began collecting data on greenhouse gas emissions in 1990.
Emissions per capita fell to 12.5 tons, down 7.4 percent from 2019.
The center said it released the preliminary data a year before they are finalized to help inform and check progress on the implementation of greenhouse gas reduction policies.
The final version, which will be drawn up with relevant government agencies, may contain some discrepancies, it said.