Korea’s climate forecast dire, with temps to rise

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Korea’s climate forecast dire, with temps to rise

Temperatures on the Korean Peninsula are expected to continue rising over the next two decades, a report released Tuesday on climate change said, with the projected heat wave expected to kill 1.5 out of every 100,000 people, or nearly double the current figure.

According to the 2014 Korean Peninsula Climate Change Assessment Report, released by the Ministry of Environment, the average yearly temperature on the peninsula has continued to rise every 10 years since 1954, while over the most recent decade, from 2001 to 2010, that average increased 0.5 degrees Celsius.

The primary cause for the increase, the report states, is largely linked to artificial greenhouse gas emissions derived from burning fossil fuel as well as land use change, leading carbon dioxide concentrations to escalate.

In 2010, Korea ranked seventh globally in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.

However, despite efforts to reduce the artificial greenhouse gas emissions, experts predict temperatures will continue to rise.

The ministry also projected that those in urban areas are more vulnerable to deteriorating climate change conditions compared with those in non-urban areas and urged more research to be conducted in rural areas to combat climate change.

The number of climate change reports focusing on rural areas is relatively low compared with research analyzing urban areas, the ministry said.

“To minimize the damage from greenhouse gases, the government needs to come up with a plan designated to different regions, reflecting the characteristics of each,” said Jeong Eun-hye, who heads the Climate Change Cooperation Division at the Environment Ministry.

The influence of rising temperatures can also be seen on water temperature around the peninsula, which is about three times higher than the global average - 0.85 degree Celsius - as well as the rise in sea level, which is two to three times higher than the global average at 1.4 mm (0.05 inch) annually.

The report, which the ministry issued in corporation with the Korea Meteorological Administration, integrated 2,500 national and international academic research papers published until last year regarding climate change on the Korean Peninsula.

BY PARK YUNA [ypc3c@joongang.co.kr]

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