(ATTN: UPDATES with reaction from public hearing from para 7)
By Chang Dong-woo
SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Friday drastically raised the level of its greenhouse gas reduction goal from 26.3 percent to 40 percent by 2030, as part of its broader aim to slowly phase out conventional resources and go carbon neutral by 2050.
The revised aim in national greenhouse gas reduction, or nationally determined contribution (NDC), by 2030 was reached in a meeting of the presidential committee on carbon neutrality and related government ministries.
The goal calls for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent against the national output level in 2018. South Korea uses data from 2018, the peak year of its greenhouse gas emissions, as benchmarks in setting related policy goals.
Friday's decision was made following the passage of a related law in August, referred to as the "low carbon, green growth" act, mandating an over 35 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
"Considering the projected rate of annual reduction, the 40 percent goal is a very bold aim compared to other nations," the government assessed, adding the decision reflected the administration's strong determination to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
South Korea will officially introduce its revised greenhouse gas reduction goal to the international community at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in November and submit a government plan to the U.N. in December.
The plan, however, was met with mixed responses from academia and the private sector questioning the feasibility of the goal, saying the vision was largely based on advancements of untested new technologies still in their development phases.
In an online public hearing on the government's new greenhouse reduction goal, Koo Youn-mo, a professor at Seoul National University, said the goal "had a high level of uncertainty" due to the bulk of the plan being based on "new technology."
Park Jong-bae, a professor at Konkuk University in Seoul, projected that the plan could prompt a hike in electricity costs as high as triple the current level and called for the government to be transparent in explaining to the public the prospective increase in energy costs.
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