June 23, 2015 12:46
Korea's greenhouse gas emissions started falling for the first time last year even though the economy grew.
This is a signal that Korea, like the EU, can decouple greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth.
According to government data on Monday, Korea's real GDP grew 3.3 percent in 2014 compared to a year earlier, while the amount of greenhouse gas emissions was estimated at 693.6 million tons, down 4 million tons or 0.6 percent from 2013.
Except in 1998, when both the GDP and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions fell drastically in the wake of the Asian crisis, greenhouse gas emissions have grown 3.9 percent (17 million tons) each year since 1990 coupled with GDP growth of about five percent.
A government official said, "the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions was attributed chiefly to a decrease in thermal power generation, a large source of greenhouse gas emissions, while the operating rate of nuclear power plants rose."
Lee Hae-jeong of the Hyundai Research Institute said, "The government's policy to cut greenhouse gas emissions and achieve greater energy efficiency also contributed to the decoupling."
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