Long-term increases and recent slowdowns of CO2 emissions in Korea

Wankeun Oh, Jonghyun Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Korea is one of the fastest-growing CO2-emitting countries but has recently experienced a dramatic slowdown in emissions. The objective of the study is to examine the driving factors of long-term increases (1990-2015) and their slowdown (2012-2015) in emissions of Korea. This study uses an extended index decomposition analysis model that better fits Korea's emission trends of the last 25 years by encompassing 19 energy end-use sectors (18 economic sectors and a household sector) and three energy types. The results show that emission increases in the long term (1990-2015) come from economic growth and population growth. However, improvements in energy intensity, carbon intensity, and economic structure offset large portions of CO2 emissions. The recent slowdown (2012-2015) mainly resulted from a decline in energy intensity and carbon intensity in the economic sectors. Among the different energy types, electricity has played a significant role in decreasing emissions because industries have reduced the consumption of electricity per output and the source of electricity generation has shifted to cleaner energies. These results imply that the Korean government should support strategies that reduce energy intensity and carbon intensity in the future to reduce CO2 emissions and maintain sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6924
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • CO emission
  • Electricity
  • Energy intensity
  • Index decomposition analysis
  • Korea


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