Lonely Planet Writer

Paris summit: North Korea pledges war on deforestation

North Korea made its greatest pledge to engage in fighting global climate change at the Paris climate summit today.

North Korean women pull a cart up a slope as others cycle and walk on a path next to the Taedong River on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Pyongyang, North Korea. The Taedong River is the second longest river in North Korea.
North Korean women pull a cart up a slope as others cycle and walk on a path next to the Taedong River on Monday, 30 November 2015, in Pyongyang, North Korea. The Taedong River is the second longest river in North Korea. Image by AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korean foreign minister Ri Su-yong told delegates that Kim Jong-un “has declared war on deforestation and has put forward a massive project to turn all the mountains of the country into mountains of gold, thickly wooded with trees.”

Ri told the conference that the country was planning a large-scale reforestation project to take place over the next ten years as part of North Korea’s overall commitment to reducing green house gas emissions.

The declaration may seem unusual for the secretive state, but North Korea has been keen to maintain its commitment to the UNFCCC, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, established in 1992 as the international body for addressing climate change and environmental issues.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, talks with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the Caring for Climate Business Forum
US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, talks with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the Caring for Climate Business Forum

The foreign minister went on to say that North Korea had the goal “of reducing the country’s total amount of greenhouse gas emissions by 37.4% compared with the levels of the 1990s.” Its carbon emissions decreased in the 1990s mainly because of its collapsed economy.

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