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South Korea's rapid growth has resulted in significant environmental side effects, as industrial emissions from factories have caused serious acid rain problems. Increased car ownership also has led to a corresponding rise in carbon emissions from the country's transportation sector, contributing to South Korea's air pollution problems. Transboundary pollution is a major concern in the region, leading environmental ministers from South Korea, China and Japan to establish a joint commission to attempt to tackle the problem.
Thus far, there has been little emphasis on the development of renewable energy resources in South Korea, but that is changing as the 1997-1998 financial crisis focused attention on South Korea's dependence on imported oil to meet domestic energy demand. One of the country's stated goals in its National Vision for Environmental Policies in the 21st Century' is the promotion of green development schemes such as increased usage of photovoltaic power and fuel cells. South Korea's environmental outlook depends on its ability to shift its energy supply mix to cleaner-burning fuels and de-link the increase in carbon emissions from economic growth.
Sources for this report include: Asia Pulse; Asian Wall Street Journal; CIA World Factbook 2004; Dow Jones News Wire service; Economist Intelligence Unit ViewsWire; FT Energy - Power in Asia; Global Insight Asia Economic Outlook; Korea Economic Weekly; Korea Herald; Korea Times; U.S. Energy Information Administration; Petroleum Intelligence Weekly; Reuters News Wire; World Bank; World Gas Intelligence.