Press Release: New Analysis Outlines Opportunities for Korea and India to Reduce Emissions and Maintain Economic Growth

For Immediate Release:
October 27, 1999

Contact: Lisa McNeilly(Bonn)/Kelly Sullivan(USA)
(202) 289-5900

New Analysis Outlines Opportunities for Korea and India to Reduce Emissions and Maintain Economic Growth:  Studies Presented at COP 5

BONN, GERMANY-— Two case studies presented today at COP 5 outline realistic opportunities for Korea and India to address the challenge of climate change. The studies commissioned by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change examine ways to reduce emissions without comprising economic growth.

The studies are the subject of a roundtable discussion today at COP 5. Talks here will depend on a clear understanding of actions taken by developing countries to address local environmental and economic concerns, and how these actions might impact greenhouse gas emissions.

Similar to other developing countries, power demand in both India and Korea is outpacing economic growth. Electricity consumption in India and Korea has more than doubled in the last decade, and both countries expect to at least double their power supply again over the next 15 years. The energy choices these countries make today will affect the local and global environment for years to come.

"This analysis shows that there are reasonable and realistic opportunities developing countries can and are taking today to begin responding to the challenge of climate change," said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. "The recommendations offer a clear roadmap for progress, moving the debate from the theoretical to the practical."

The Korea Energy Economics Institute and the Advanced International Studies Unit at Battelle completed the case study on Korea's electric power choices. The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, also worked with Battelle to conduct the analysis on India's electric power choices.

The studies are part of a series that began with an overview report, Developing Countries and Climate Change: Electric Power Options for Growth, which was released earlier this year. In addition to the case studies on India and Korea, the series also will include reports on Argentina, Brazil, and China. All the case studies are being conducted and completed by in-country authors to ensure a balanced and informed assessment.

The studies use a least-cost model to test the effect of various scenarios on the mix of power generation technologies. The impact of these technology choices on costs and emissions are estimated through 2015.

The Korean analysis yielded several interesting insights:

  • Additional restructuring of the power sector and reform of industrial policy can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 9 percent relative to the "business-as-usual" path, with slightly lower costs per unit of electricity generated. Increasing the supply of natural gas and reducing import tariffs on that fuel have similar results.
  • Korea could boost economic performance, improve environmental quality, and ensure greater energy security by accelerating energy efficiency efforts. By reducing demand for power by 15 percent, these efforts could also reduce carbon and sulfur dioxide emissions by almost 25 percent.
  • Further tightening of local environmental requirements might shift technology choices toward natural gas and nuclear, and achieve reductions in the emissions of sulfur dioxide (59 percent) and carbon dioxide (28 percent), with only a small increase in costs.
  • Korea's economy and environment could benefit from advanced technologies such as fuel cells and wind power if research and development is accelerated and capital costs decline as a result.

The Indian case study also identified several key opportunities:

  • Strict control of local pollutants may not necessarily lead to reduced coal consumption, because of limited supplies of low-cost natural gas. On the other hand, striving to attain sustainable development goals can reduce costs and capacity needs, and achieve the most dramatic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions (60 percent over 1995 levels, but 35 percent below business-as-usual).
  • High economic growth does not have to lead to excessive coal emissions; instead, stricter emissions control and greater financial resources might cause a shift to cleaner fuels and more energy-efficient coal technologies.
  • Natural gas use increases in all scenarios, indicating that enhancing the gas supply is a vital energy policy measure. For those cases where gas use increases the most, the analysis shows that carbon emissions can be reduced from 11 percent (by accelerating market reforms) to 23 percent (by more widespread adoption of cost-effective energy efficiency measures).

The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the nation's largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of America's environment. The Pew Center supports businesses in developing marketplace solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, produces analytical reports on the science, economics and policies related to climate change, launches public education efforts, and promotes better understanding of market mechanisms globally. Eileen Claussen, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, is the President of the Pew Center.

The Pew Center includes the Business Environmental Leadership Council, which is composed of 21 major, largely Fortune 500 corporations all working with the Pew Center to address issues related to climate change. The companies do not contribute financially to the Pew Center - it is solely supported by contributions from charitable foundations.