South Korea's decision to back slide on heavy industry emissions target is disappointing | Climate Group Skip to main content
Industrial chimneys emitting smoke

South Korea's decision to back slide on heavy industry emissions target is disappointing

27 March 2023, 12:14 UTC 2 min read

On 21 March the South Korean government took a disappointing decision to reduce the emissions targets for its heavy industries, delaying the progressive climate action that's drastically needed for some of the highest polluting sectors.

Businesses and governments around the world are looking to the future and recognise that industries like steel, need to decarbonise and fast if we're to have any chance of averting the climate crisis.

As the sixth largest steelmaker in the world, South Korea is moving in the wrong direction with this decision and weakening ambition on emissions. There's no time left for silver bullets or incremental steps- we need every procurement, policy and financing decision to accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions fast.

Mike Peirce, Executive Director of Systems Change at Climate Group responds to this decision:

"South Korea's decision to reduce the emission targets for its heavy industry is straight-forwardly delaying the climate action we need. The recent IPCC report clearly outlines the disasters we’re facing if we don’t take urgent action, and this decision by the South Korean government does not match up to the seriousness of the report's scientifically grounded findings. This is not the time to make it easier for some of the biggest emitters to keep on polluting. We need drastic action now to decarbonise industries like steel and concrete or we run the risk of massively exceeding 1.5C of warming.

"It's not enough to make up for the gap in emissions through nuclear, carbon capture and storage and offsets. This won't create the lasting change that's needed. Net zero heavy industries are the future, it's time that South Korea gets on board."


SteelZero is working with organisations from across the South Korean steel industry to support the rapid decarbonisation, and enable the delivery of net zero steel to market. Find out more about SteelZero.