SEOUL South Korea, the OECD's fastest-growing carbon polluter, said on Thursday it would finalize its carbon emission reduction targets for 2020 on November 17 at between unchanged from and 4 percent below 2005 levels.
An official of the presidential committee on green growth said the government had dropped an option for an 8 percent increase from 2005 levels by 2020, among the three choices voluntarily announced in August this year.
The presidential committee said in a statement it had narrowed down into the two options after holding more than 70 public hearings and discussions in the past few months.
"The second option (of unchanging the level) is relatively less burdensome and the third option (at below 4 percent) will probably show our definite willingness for green growth," Hyung-kook Kim, chairperson of the presidential committee on green growth, said in a statement.
"In either of these two options, we will maximize positive effects."
South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, earlier this year took a lead among newly industrialized nations not bound by the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol by setting 2020 goals ahead of a major global climate meeting in December in Copenhagen, where the U.N. hopes to seal agreement for a successor pact to Kyoto from 2013.
The country's green investment plans already rank near the top in Asia. The government said earlier the year it would invest 107 trillion won ($90.9 billion), or 2 percent of its annual GDP, in environment-related industries over the next five years, pushing stricter fuel efficiency and emission requirements.
(Reporting by Cho Meeyoung; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)