Grim warning on climate change

By Zong Shu (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-03 07:28

The current climate change as a result of human activities and greenhouse gas emissions poses a more serious threat to life on Earth than previously expected, said top Chinese and global climate scientists in a statement in Paris on Friday.

A dead tree stands on a drought-affected property near the outback town of Ivanhoein New South Wales, Australia. The UN climate panel issued its strongest warning yet on Friday that human activities are heating the planet, putting extra pressure on governments to do more. Reuters

The United Nations panel, which groups 2,500 scientists from more than 130 nations, predicted more droughts, heatwaves, rainstorms and a rise in sea levels that could last for more than 1,000 years.

The scientists have worked continuously for six years on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

While three leading Chinese scientists co-authored the first part of the IPCC report, many other Chinese scientists have been carrying out their own research echoing the IPCC findings.

The IPCC is now ringing the alarm bell even louder.

"No country, government, or individuals can overlook the threat of climate change," Li Yan, climate and energy campaigner and spokesperson for Greenpeace China, told China Daily.

"The threat is not that far away from the present, and China may be more vulnerable and suffer more from it.

"But China can and must take up the responsibility of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by actively developing renewable energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and improving energy efficiency," she said.

"Climate change has an impact on China's environment, social system and economic development, which will become more serious," said Chen Dongmei, director of the WWF China Climate Change and Energy Program.

The IPCC report indicates that CO2 accounts for 90 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Chen said that it is especially important to promote public awareness and practice energy saving as studies show that the consumption of energy by urban dwellers accounts for more than 25 percent of the country's total consumption.

Early last month, two groups of 143 scientists from 18 government ministries and agencies released a 422-page report, which offered a comprehensive study on climate change and its effects on weather, agriculture and ecosystems in the country.

Meanwhile, Chen Yiyu, president of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and a bio-diversity expert, warned last week that life on earth was experiencing changes more dramatic than any geological period in the past.

Scientists estimate living species are dying at the rate of 100 to 1,000 times faster than the advent of humankind.

If the current global warming maintains its momentum, between 15 to 37 percent of species on Earth will become extinct by 2050, Chen said.

(China Daily 02/03/2007 page1)

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