South Korea is a global leader in electronics, but little is known about their climate change impact. Here, we estimate the direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Korean electronics by developing a new and high-resolution (∼380 sectors) environmentally extended input-output model, named KREEIO. We find that final demand for Korean electronics led to nearly 8% of national GHG emissions in 2017, mostly because of indirect emissions embodied in the electronics supply chain. Notably, the semiconductor and display sectors contributed 3.2% and 2.4% to national emissions, with capital investment accounting for 17% of the two sectors’ total emissions or nearly 1% of national emissions. For other electronic products, scope 1, scope 2, and upstream scope 3 emissions on average accounted for 3%, 10%, and 87% of a sector’s GHG intensity, respectively. Detailed contribution analysis suggests that reducing Korean electronics GHG emissions would benefit most from the transition to a low-carbon electricity grid, but mitigation efforts in many other sectors such as metals and chemicals are also important. Overall, our study underscores the significance of electronics GHG emissions in South Korea, especially those from semiconductors and displays, and the mitigation challenges these sectors face as demand continues to grow globally.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partly supported by the Brain Pool Program (NRF-2020H1D3A2A01093596) and the Basic Science Research Program (NRF-2020R1I1A2072313) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education. We thank Rylie Pelton for feedback on early drafts of the paper.
© 2022 American Chemical Society
- Corporate GHG accounting
- LCD display
- corporate sustainability
- fluorinated GHG
- scope 3 emissions
- semiconductor capital investment
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't