SEOUL, Jul. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea was the fourth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2017 due to its high dependence on fossil fuels, a report showed Monday.
According to the report by global oil and gas major BP, South Korea’s CO2 emissions came to 679.7 million tons last year, up 2.2 percent from the previous year.
The volume was the fourth largest among 26 OECD nations with comparable figures. The United States topped the list with 5.09 billion tons, trailed by Japan with 1.18 billion tons and Germany with 764 million tons.
Compared with a decade ago, South Korea’s CO2 emissions spiked 24.6 percent last year, a stark contrast to an 8.7 percent drop in the OECD average.
Turkey was the only OECD nation that reported a higher growth rate over the cited period with 50.5 percent. The U.S., Japan and Germany posted falls of 13.5 percent, 7.1 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.
South Korea’s high ranking in OECD CO2 output was attributed to its high reliance on coal use for electricity generation.
Coal consumption of Asia’s fourth-largest economy amounted to 86.30 million tons of oil equivalent (TOEs) last year, the third largest after the U.S. with 332 million TOEs and Japan with 121 million tons.
“South Korea’s coal consumption has been on a steady increase due to its greater dependence on the fossil fuel for power generation,” an industry source said. “South Korea needs more realistic measures to cut back on coal consumption.”
South Korea’s volume of electricity generated from coal came to 230,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) last year, compared with 149,000 GWh 10 years earlier, with its share of the country’s total power trade rising to 44 percent from 39.8 percent over the cited period.