S Korea to launch `green credits`

S Korea will launch an incentive system for people who purchase eco-friendly products.

Updated: Dec 27, 2010, 14:56 PM IST

Seoul: South Korea will launch an incentive system for people who purchase eco-friendly products or abide by a low-carbon lifestyle as part of next year`s full-fledged campaign to save energy and reduce carbon emissions, the Ministry of Environment said.
Reporting its 2011 policy plans to President Lee Myung-bak, the ministry said it will issue green credit chips embedded into credit cards in which cardholders can store
low-carbon points whenever they use public transportation or purchase certified green products to encourage people to practice saving energy in their daily lives.

The cards will also reward low-carbon practices, such as riding bicycles and bringing one`s own mug to coffee shops, the ministry said.

The carbon point system has been operated by local governments that give people incentives, such as cash back, gift certificates and free garbage bags (which usually cost a
fee) to reward their efforts to protect the environment.

To get closer to general consumers and help them save more points, the ministry will expand the certificate system for eco-friendly products and increase the number of stores
that sell certified green products.

The green campaign comes as South Korea plans to voluntarily cut emissions by 4 per cent below the 2005 level by 2020, a target corresponding to a 30 per cent reduction
from "business-as-usual" levels in 2005.

Under the long-term "green growth" plan, the government will also provide tax benefits for electric cars and low-carbon vehicles with emissions below 100 grams per kilometer to cut emissions and expand the number of electric cars to 1 million units by 2020.

South Korea, Asia`s fourth-largest economy, emitted 594 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2005, ranking ninth among member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to the government report.