South Korea to freeze greenhouse gas emissions

South Korea’s Environment Minister has announced a freeze on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions at their 2005 levels over the next five years. Environment Minister Lee Maan-Ee presented a report to President Lee Myung-Bak, recommending the reductions. Under the Kyoto Protocol, South Korea is considered a developing country, and is therefore not subject to mandatory emissions caps. But the rapidly-industrialising nation has become the thirteenth biggest economy in the world, and according to estimates of the World Resources Institute is the ninth largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Korean news reports said local environmental groups have called the proposed emissions-freeze insufficient. The Korean Federation for Environmental Movement called for a 20% reduction by 2020. According to UN data, South Korea emitted 542.9 mtCO2-e in 2001, the latest year for which data is available. In 1990, emissions stood at 289.5 mtCO2-e. In March 2008, the Korea Energy Economics Institute published estimates that South Korea will emit 38% more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it did in 2005. The thinktank projected that the country’s emissions would increase by an average of 2.2% per year.