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Integrated Assessment Modeling of Korea's 2050 Carbon Neutrality Technology Pathways

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AbstractThis integrated assessment modeling research analyzes what Korea's 2050 carbon neutrality would require for the national energy system and the role of the power sector concerning the availability of critical mitigation technologies. Our scenario-based assessment shows that Korea's current policy falls short of what the nation's carbon-neutrality ambition would require. Across all technology scenarios examined in this study, an extensive and rapid energy system transition is imperative, requiring the large-scale deployment of renewables and carbon capture & storage (CCS) early on and negative emission technologies (NETs) by the mid-century. Importantly, the rapid decarbonization of the power sector, along with the rapid electrification of end-uses, seems to be a robust national decarbonization strategy. Furthermore, we contextualize our net-zero scenario results using policy costs, requirements for natural resources, and the expansion rate of zero-carbon technologies. We find that the availability of nuclear power lowers the required expansion rate of renewables and CCS, alleviating any stress on terrestrial and geological systems. By contrast, the limited availability of CCS without nuclear power necessarily demands a very high penetration of renewables and significantly high policy compliance costs, which would decrease the feasibility of achieving the carbon neutrality target.

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