South Korea’s finance minister has called its impending emissions trading market “flawed in many ways”, hinting that he would pressure other ministries to delay the planned 2015 launch, a local newspaper reported.
Choi Kyung-hwan, who is also deputy prime minister, said problems had been found with the scheme, which is due to start in January, and that the government would review them before deciding whether to delay it, modify it or implement it as planned, The Korea Times reported on Friday.
South Korea’s finance, industry and environment ministries are divided over the scheme and its potential impact on the economy, a spokesman with the country’s environment ministry said, adding that nothing had been decided thus far.
South Korea’s carbon market has come under fire from businesses, who want its start delayed until 2020. Industry groups earlier this week warned that it could cost firms a total of 27.5 trillion to 29.6 trillion Korean won ($26.7-$28.9 billion) over the next three years.
The programme, which has already been delayed by two years from 2013, caps greenhouse gas emissions from over 400 of the country’s largest polluters such as power generators and manufacturers, with the aim of cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) output by 30 percent by 2020 from business-as-usual levels.
Choi’s comments come a day after Australia’s parliament voted to repeal its carbon tax, which would have evolved into an emissions trading market next July.