Warnings From China's
First Climate Change Report
30 December, 2006
Agence France Presse
in China will rise significantly in coming decades and water shortages
will worsen, state media has reported, citing the government's first
national assessment of global climate change.
"Greenhouse gases released
due to human activity are leading to ever more serious problems in terms
of climate change," the Ministry of Science and Technology said
in a statement.
"Global climate change
has an impact on the nation's ability to develop further," said
the ministry, one of 12 government departments that prepared the report.
In just over a decade, global
warming will start to be felt in the world's most populous country,
and it will get warmer yet over the next two or three generations.
Compared with 2000, the average
temperatures will increase by between 1.3 and 2.1 degrees Celsius by
2020, the China News Service reported, citing the assessment.
By the middle of the century,
the annual average temperature in China will rise by as much as 3.3
degrees Celsius (more than five degrees fahrenheit), and by 2100 it
could soar by as much as six degrees Celsius, according to the news
"We're in a period of
rapid economic growth, and energy consumption will increase as a result,"
Liu Hongbin, a Beijing-based expert at the National Climate Center,
"As a result, China
will continue to emit a rather large amount of greenhouse gases."
The report predicted that
precipitation will also increase drastically in the coming decades,
rising up to 17 percent by the turn of the next century, according to
the news service.
However, this will bring
little or no relief to China's frequently drought-stricken farmers,
the report noted.
Although parched north China
is expected to have more rain, water shortages will increase because
of faster evaporation caused by higher temperatures.
Drought, heat waves and other
extreme weather will also hit China more often, according to the report.
Few aspects of human endeavor
in China will be immune to the devastating effects of global warming,
the report suggests.
Even a railway that opened
this year linking remote Tibet to provinces further east will be affected.
This is because part of the
rail is built on top of subsoil that maintains sub-zero temperatures
throughout the year but may start to thaw due to hotter weather "threatening
the safety of railway operations", the news service said.
"The report will serve
as the country's scientific and technical reference in policy making
and international cooperation," said Li Xueyong, vice minister
of the science ministry.
The report notes that China
has already started seeing the effects of global warming, the China
News Service said.
Glaciers in the nation's
northwest have decreased by 21 percent since the 1950s, the report says,
according to the news agency.
It also says all China's
major rivers have shrunk over the past five decades, although it provides
no figures for the actual decrease.
In a separate report, the
state-run Xinhua news agency said the water level in the middle reaches
of the nation's longest river, the Yangtze, hit a record low this week.
The port city of Anqing,
on the Yangtze River, encountered a low of 1.95 meters (6.4 feet) on
Tuesday, a level posing a risk to shipping, Xinhua said.
Xinhua did not directly attribute
the problems to global warming but quoted experts as saying the low
water levels were due to a decrease in rainfall.
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