Seoul, South Korea

3 May 2012  – South Korea has passed legislation for a national emissions trading scheme, bringing to 34 countries around the world including Australia that, that will use emissions trading as the primary vehicle to drive carbon pollution reduction.

“We are far from leading the world, as some have claimed,” Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said.

“The Opposition has said on no less than 10 occasions that Korea would never pass an emissions trading scheme – this is just another of Tony Abbott’s misleading claims on climate change which is now proven wrong,” Mr Combet said.

“By the beginning of next year, 27 European Union members, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, the US state of California and the Canadian province of Quebec will be using emissions trading to cut carbon pollution.”

Other countries with emissions schemes include: South Africa (ETS), Mexico (voluntary ETS) Italy (carbon tax) and China (pilot ETS).

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said: “When a developing country manufacturing powerhouse like South Korea embraces emissions trading because it respects the climate science, it’s time for the naysayers in Australia to take a good long look at themselves.”

Deputy chief executive officer of The Climate Institute Erwin Jackson said Korea’s reduction would be roughly equivalent to Australia’s 15 per cent target, well above the current unconditional 5 per cent target.

“Countries like South Korea see the shift to low carbon investments as crucial for their economic performance and global competitive advantage.

“As a nation we can’t turn our back on the global shift from dirty to clean, from non-renewable to renewable, and from inefficient to efficient. We are at no risk of leading the world on climate change action but with the passage of the limit and price on pollution can, for the first time, start moving in the same direction as those that are.”