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Carbon at Korea companies in market rose 9.1%

Output of greenhouse gases at 467 companies that will probably be in South Korea’s proposed carbon market starting in 2015 rose 9.1 percent in 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Emissions rose to 515.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from 472.7 million tons in 2009, London-based New Energy Finance said in a June 22 note published on its website, citing data from the Greenhouse Gas Inventory & Research Center of Korea in Seoul.

Emissions at Posco, the country’s largest steel-mill operator and biggest producer of greenhouse gases, jumped 13 percent to 73.5 million tons, New Energy said. That compares with 140.1 million tons last year for RWE AG (RWE), the Essen, Germany-based power utility that’s Europe’s biggest emitter.

South Korea approved a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gases in May as PresidentLee Myung Bak seeks support for new restrictions on factories and power plants in the fastest-growing emitter among industrialized democracies.

The National Assembly passed a bill to establish the market-based program, which requires companies exceeding their emission quotas to buy permits from those that discharge less, with the backing of ruling and opposition parties. The bill, which calls for emissions trading to start in 2015, was passed in a 148-0 vote, with three abstentions.

The biggest-emitting industry was power, with 233.2 million tons in 2010, or 45 percent of greenhouse gases, according to New Energy Finance. The steel industry followed with 94.6 million tons, or 18 percent.

“The fundamentals of the South Korean emissions trading system will be very different to those of the EU ETS, which is forecast to only have flat or declining emissions over the period to 2020,” said Matthew Cowie, an analyst at New Energy Finance in London. Emissions in the EU market rose 2.8 percent in 2010, less than one third of South Korea’s 9.1 percent pace, he said today by e-mail. EU carbon-market emissions fell 2 percent last year to 1.9 billion tons.

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