SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's public sector reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent last year from its target volume, the Ministry of Environment said Saturday.
According to the ministry, annual greenhouse gas emissions by 782 government and state-funded institutions amounted to 3.98 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2019, marking a fall of 23.5 percent from their emission standard of 5.21 million tons of CO2 equivalent.
The emission standard refers to a three-year average between 2007 and 2009, adjusted annually according to facility expansion and closures. Between 2018 and 2019, the emission reduction rate totaled 19.6 percent.
Among the 782 institutions, local governments posted the highest reduction rate of 28.1 percent, followed by public institutions (25.6 percent), national and public universities (22.5 percent), provincial corporations (20.9 percent) and central administrative organs (17.7 percent), the ministry noted.
By institution, Seocheon County of South Chungcheong Province registered the highest reduction rate of 54.8 percent, trailed by Incheon (51.1 percent), the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (50.8 percent) and Yeongcheon City of North Gyeongsang Province (49.3 percent), it said.
The ministry said about 900,000 tons of greenhouse gases were reduced by improving behaviors such as turning off lights and complying with recommended cooling and heating temperatures, while 110,000 tons were cut through facility improvements, such as purchases of eco-friendly vehicles and supply of high-efficiency equipment.
The ministry expects the public sector to achieve further greenhouse gas emission cuts in the coming years, thanks to the government's Green New Deal project, which refers to a program to counter climate change through various efforts, including greenhouse gas emission cuts and job creation.
According to the roadmap, the public sector aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 21.5 percent by 2030 from the 2017 emissions.
South Korea's government has also finalized a goal of reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent from 2017 levels by 2030. Under the goal, coal thermal power generation will be drastically scaled down, while the use of renewable energy will be sharply increased. Authorities will also encourage technological innovation, expansion of green buildings, increased supply of low emission vehicles and expansion of a single-use product ban.
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