The Korea Herald

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Only 1 in 4 assembly election winners made climate policy pledges: report

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : April 19, 2024 - 16:23

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The National Assembly Building in Yeouido in western Seoul (Getty Images Bank) The National Assembly Building in Yeouido in western Seoul (Getty Images Bank)

Only 25 percent of 254 directly elected National Assembly representatives during the April 10 general election made climate-related policy pledges, according to a report issued by a coalition of 16 non-profit environmental organizations, including Local Energy Lab, on Thursday.

Out of the 63 elected representatives who have presented climate policies, 53 belong to the liberal main opposition Democratic Party of Korea and 10 belong to the conservative ruling People Power Party. Additionally, one representative from the minor opposition Progressive Party presented policies addressing climate change.

By region, the highest number of candidates that presented climate policies came from Gyeonggi Province with 23 candidates. This figure was followed by 13 candidates representing Seoul and 4 candidates each representing South Chungcheong Province, South Jeolla Province and South Gyeongsang Province.

According to the data presented by the coalition, newly elected legislators representing constituencies in Sejong, Busan and North Gyeongsang Province didn’t present any pledges to prevent climate change.

Some of the notable climate policies included the establishment of a constitution related to the climate crisis, the deployment of a climate policy advisor, the enactment of a carbon tax law and the suspension of vehicles running on internal combustion engines by 2035.

With South Korea aiming since 2018 to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the coalition explained that the climate policies presented by the 64 representatives were still inadequate to address the climate crisis.

According to the coalition, an analysis of all of the assembly candidates' pledges revealed that pledges against climate-friendly development far outnumbered those in support of action to prevent climate change in both content and volume.

Moreover, a significant portion of the candidates who advocate taking action against climate change also simultaneously support policies that are detrimental to the environment.