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Korea retains CO2 exemption at UN climate conference

Posted December. 13, 2010 11:18,   


Korea has kept its status as a non-annex country at the 16th U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties in Cancun, Mexico, that ended Saturday.

Seoul can thus voluntarily set a target for CO2 emissions reduction without being subject to rigorous international verification and supervision applied to countries obligated to cut such emissions.

Korean delegates who attended the event said Sunday that the conference excluded Korea from the list of countries required to reduce CO2 emissions by classifying it as a developing nation. Korea was excluded from the list of nations subject to mandatory limits on CO2 emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, which took effect in 2005.

The protocol requires advanced economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

Among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, only Korea and Mexico were excluded. Advanced economies, however, argued that Korea should no longer be considered a developing nation given its economic size and emissions volume.

Experts say Korea’s voluntary efforts to reduce emissions are largely attributable to the county’s exemption.

At the conference, Denmark became the first country to join the Global Green Growth Institute, which was established by Korea to spread its green growth policies to developing nations.

Korean delegates said the world recognizes Seoul’s policies and efforts to protect the environment, with Egypt, Algeria, Vietnam and Cambodia asking for technology transfers related to Korea’s four-river restoration project.

Countries participating at the conference agreed to support developing economies by establishing a “green climate fund” worth 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. In addition, they pledged to invigorate research to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Korea and Qatar are competing to host the 18th conference in 2012, and the decision will come at the 17th conference next year in South Africa due to differing opinions.