The industry of South Korea is closely following the actions of the ruling party and the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The ruling party recently proposed a 42.5 percent reduction target with a target year to 2030, and the government agrees.
The problem is that new methods and technologies for any significant reduction in carbon emissions will not be available until 2050 at the earliest. This fact is already affecting the carbon industries, including steel, semiconductor, refining and chemical. “The government’s goals are more difficult to achieve than carbon neutrality by 2050, and we can’t help but lower our capacity utilization to achieve it,” they note.
South Korea’s total carbon emissions were 727.6 million tonnes in 2018. According to the government’s plan, this figure should be reduced by 309.23 million tons by 2030. The government’s previous reduction target was 24.4 percent, the target change resulted in an additional reduction of 131.69 million tonnes, and this additional responsibility should be shared among industries, power generators, transporters, and others.
In particular, the responsibility of the industries is estimated at 47.41 million tons. This goal could be achieved if the main steelmaking processes became virtually carbon-free: in 2019, POSCO and Hyundai Steel had emissions of 81.48 million tonnes and 22.24 million tonnes of carbon, respectively. Unfortunately, the production of hydrogen reduced steel as a carbon-free process is not expected to be commercialized until 2050 at the earliest.
This means that more pressure will be put on industries such as refining, cement and semiconductors. The fact is that these industries also lack such equipment and technologies. Although carbon capture and use is frequently mentioned, it is still unclear when it will become commercially available.