Carbon emissions is an extensive environmental problem that we face throughout the world. Carbon emissions are caused by many factors to include both natural and human sources. Human activities have caused the environmental concentration of carbon dioxide to rise to alarming levels. Human activities consist of burning oil, coal and gas, as well as deforestation (which limits the amount of natural carbon dioxide removal).
Almost all of the countries contribute to the rise in carbon emissions to some degree. We are going to look at the changes in carbon emissions for the United States, South Korea, and North Korea between 1990 and 2012.
Out of 190 countries that the Population Reference Bureau was able to report on for both 1990 and 2012, the United States (ranked 187) and South Korea (ranked 188) were reported to have one of the highest levels of increase whereas South Korea (ranked 4) had almost the largest decrease. The political unrest that North Korea has had to endure is the main cause for the significant change between the increase of pollution in South Korea and the decrease in North Korea.
In the 1990’s, North Korea suffered a massive economic crisis which ultimately led to a famine. North Korea has not been able to recover from these events. The dictatorship reign of their past leaders and subsequent tyrannical reign of their current leadership has caused their once flourishing economy to collapse. A majority of the industry that once operated all over North Korea now only operates in a small area to include the main hub in Pyongyang. The crash of the economy prevents the population from being able to operate cars. They are also unable to afford the luxuries of heating their homes or using electricity. These activities, which once created a lot of carbon emissions, no longer are available. Thus the reason for the massive decline between 1990 and 2012.
As North Korea’s economy was declining, South Korea’s was growing. Part of this growth can be attributed to the people who defected from North Korea and also the positive relationship that
South Korea has with other countries. With the positive economical relationship, South Korea was able to expand their industry. This expansion caused more carbon pollutants. The additional population also contributed to more greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases, or carbon emissions, increased because of the additional cars on the roads and homes that needed to be heated during the colder seasons. North Korea’s carbon emissions are still increasing causing them to look at ways to reduce them.
The United States has always been high on the carbon emissions list. The US has a booming economy and a huge population. There have not been any dramatic changes to their industry or population to warrant a sharp increase/decrease in the level of carbon emissions that are reported. It can be noted that although the US has one of the highest increases of emissions between 1990 and 2012, it also had one of the highest levels to begin with. The increase is minimal compared to the increase with South Korea and the decrease in North Korea.
Some things that would help to better test this hypothesis is finding out more about the population and industry of North and South Korea as it was in 1990 and how it changed in 2002. It would also be good to know if the expansion of industry in South Korea was actually caused by the increased population of defectors or if this was something that would have occurred regardless due to their relationship with other countries and how a majority of countries have increased their industry. It would also be good to find out how the change in technology affected the pollutants that come from the cars and homes. Did the emissions increase due to the populations growth or is it because they do not have the emission standards that other countries have? All of these factors could alter my theory.