Daily Archives: April 27, 2016

China faces ‘grave risks’ from climate change | John McGarrity – China Dialogue

( Image by Lu Guang/Greenpeace)

Head of China’s weather service warns that climate change could make droughts, crop failures and energy shortages increasingly likely in the world’s most populous country

China’s most senior weather official has given a strong warning on climate change, saying that rising temperatures could have “huge impacts” on the country’s food and water supplies, state media reported on Sunday.

Rising global temperatures would harm crop yields, prompt “ecological degradation” and create unstable river flows, according to a Xinhua report of comments made by Zheng Guoguang, chief of China’s Meteorological Administration.

“As the world warms, risks of climate change and climate disasters to China could become more grave,” Zheng said.

Temperature increases in China over the past century had been more extreme than global averages, Zheng added.

Zheng said climate change is a “serious threat” to several of China’s flagship infrastructure projects, including the Three Gorges Dam, which the country’s largest power station; a sprawling scheme that diverts water from the country’s rainy south to parched northern provinces; and a railway connecting Tibet with northwest China.

Zheng called for China to take a “low-carbon development path” but he also told state media that the potential for wind and solar energy was “limited”.

The weather official’s comments come as China and other large emitters prepare to release national climate plans that will outline potential emissions cuts and measures to adapt to climate change.

The plans, which will be submitted the UN over the next few months, will form the basis of a climate summit to be held in Paris at the end of this year, where it is hoped countries will agree a comprehensive deal to cut greenhouse gases.

Although some international media reported the comments as a rare admission of the threat that climate change poses to China, Zheng’s predecessor, Qin Dahe, issued a similar warning eight years ago.

Last year, the UN’s climate science arm, the International Panel and Climate Change said China faced multiple and potentially catastrophic risks from climate change, including widespread coastal flooding of megacities including Shanghai, falling crop yields and the melting of permafrost, which would harm water supply.

The comments from China’s most senior meteorologist came ahead of a UN report on the world’s climate in 2014.

Record ocean heat, high land-surface temperatures and devastating flooding were some of the defining characteristics of the global climate last year, said the World Meteorological Organisation.

Global Climate Change
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Special report: Climate change poses grave threats to China’s essential infrastructure | Hu Xi – China Dialogue

Waibaidu Bridge in Shanghai. Infrastructure accounts for 70% of China’s capital spending, but much of it is at risk from climate change (Image by David Leo Veksler)

China’s planners need to take much greater account of climate risks to water supply, energy, roads and railways, writes Hu Xi

Extreme weather events in China, expected to become increasingly common because of climate change, pose a grave threat to essential infrastructure that provides running water, electricity, road and railway connections to at least 100 million people.

That’s one of the main findings of research by the UK’s Oxford University in collaboration with Beijing Normal University. It concludes that China’s planners need to do much more to account for the impacts of severe droughts, heatwaves, rising sea levels and floods by making infrastructure more resilient and ‘climate-proof’.

Flooding in 2011 in China’s eastern Zhejiang and Hubei provinces was a foretaste of the huge disruption that climate change is expected to unleash.

Then, 28 rail links, 21,961 roads and 49 airports endured major damage and disruption, while the same extreme weather event resulted in the failure of 8,516 electricity transmission lines, prompting the shutdowns of factories and cutting off power to millions of households.

Droughts in 2012 affected a substantial proportion of China’s water supply – thousands of reservoirs issued warnings of “exceptional low water levels” in provinces across the country, including Hubei in the centre, Yunnan in the southwest, and Heilongjiang in the northeast, resulting in water shortages in high-density urban areas.

Rapid urbanisation has provided China with a vast amount of infrastructure, much of it new, and much of it at risk.

The country has invested 8.5% of its GDP in building new roads, railways, airports, ports, power plants, grid infrastructure and water treatment works since 1992. That stock as a percentage of GDP is now 71%, well above the global average.

…(read more).

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Land For Good

Land For Good

Published on May 8, 2014

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Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice