'Integrate climate change in planning'

By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-07 07:03

Experts have urged the government to make climate change an integral part of its development planning in order to address the problem global warming.

The suggestion comes in response to the grim picture the report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has painted about global warming.

Over 2,500 scientists from 130 countries worked on the report which was released in Paris on Sunday.

A researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lin Erda, said: "The central government took the impact of temperature rise into account before it launched some big projects such as the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and the South-to-North Water Diversion Project."

"But it is far from enough. All levels of government should keep the threat of climate change in mind while planning their projects."

Lin has been a member of the Chinese expert group in the IPCC since 1990 when the panel's first assessment report on climate change was published.

The government of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in Northwest China has become the first provincial-level administration to integrate climate change into its development plan.

"That's partly because Ningxia is very vulnerable to climate change. It has been suffering from drought and reduced agricultural production for years," Lin said.

The biggest difficulty for local governments to take climate change into account in their plans is the lack of scientific assessment. So they can't determine the possible damage rising temperatures could cause," Lin said.

"But (again), it'll be too late for the government to take action by the time scientists can draw a precise conclusion."

Daniel J Dudek, chief economist of the US-based Environmental Defense Fund, has urged China tighten enforcement measures to raise its energy efficiency.

"Energy efficiency shows that economic development and environmental protection are not in conflict," Dudek said, citing the experience of California's development in the US.

"If China can save energy properly, it would not need to build more power plants and burn more fossil fuel."

(China Daily 02/07/2007 page4)

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