Business / Green China

China vulnerable to climate change

By LAN LAN (China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-12 13:58

China vulnerable to climate change

Pedestrians wear masks during a heavy smog day in Shanghai. [Photo/China Daily]

China will face rising temperatures and more extreme weather conditions such as large-scale drought and flooding this year, and sea levels will continue to rise due to the impact of climate change, according to a new report.

Temperatures will rise by 1.3 C to 5 C by the end of this century, according to the third China national assessment report on climate change released on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, in December.

"Climate change has both positive and negative impacts on China, but overall it does more harm than good," says Liu Yanhua, counselor of the State Council.

Positive impacts include increased solar and thermal resources for agriculture, expanded plantation areas for some crops and additional benefits to forests and other ecosystems.

At the same time, negative impacts are felt on a number of fronts, including yields and quality of grain, water resources, marine environment and ecosystems and cities, Liu says.

As the largest developing country, China is very vulnerable to climate change. More than 70 percent of natural disasters are associated with extreme weather and climate events.

More apparent adverse impacts of climate change would be found in agriculture, cities, transport, infrastructure, the South-North Water Diversion Project, power grids and other energy facilities, says the report.

National mean precipitation will grow by 2 to 5 percent in the coming years, albeit precipitation changes in South China will not be significant, according to the report.

Under the future impact of climate change, the total water resources will likely be reduced by 5 percent, China's food security risk index will first fall and then rise, and security issues for water, ecosystems, food and energy will be further intertwined.

As a country still in the process of industrialization and urbanization, China's carbon dioxide emissions will continue to grow.

In a recent joint announcement, leaders of China and the United States set new targets for cutting greenhouse emissions. China says it intends to peak its carbon dioxide emissions around 2030.

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