Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Roundup: Climate Changes Challenge Sustainable Development

Chinese meteorologists have reached consensus that the climate and climatic changes have a profound impact on sustainable development.


Chinese meteorologists have reached consensus that the climate and climatic changes have a profound impact on sustainable development.

Warm winters for 16 successive years as well as abnormally hot summers and northern droughts over the past three years in China have made global climate warming the focal point of experts again.

The warm climate has raised ocean temperatures and elevated sealevels.

The observation results of domestic tide stations show that China's coastal sea level has risen markedly at an annual rate of 2.6 millimeters. It is predicted that the sea level will have risen by 30 to 70 centimeters by the end of this century.

Ding Yihui, a professor with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), said that the climbing sea level will severely influence China's social and economic development, since about 70 percent of the large cities, over a half of the domestic population and nearly 60 percent of the national economy are centered on China's long coastline areas.

Shi Yafeng, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences,said that the warming weather may lead to increasing rainfall and faster evaporation on the ocean and land, which will probably bring the world more droughts and floods.

Currently, droughts, floods, typhoons as well as sandstorms caused by the climatic abnormality are seriously affecting agriculture, traffic, energy and water resources in many countries.

China is one of the countries most frequently hit by meteorological disasters in the world. The direct economic loss due to these calamities usually reaches three to six percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) per year.

According to Hu Qili, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top advisory body, China's progress is now hindered by three main problems -- the rapidly expanding population, shortage of resources and environmental deterioration, a solution to which will all depend upon climate conditions.

Therefore, it is of great significance for China's social and economic development to get to know thoroughly the patterns of climate change in China and the surrounding areas, Hu said.

According to Ding Yihui, climate changes may even hinder the development of insurance and other financial service sectors.

"Climatic changes will increase the difficulties of assets evaluation, causing an increase in insurance charges," said Ding.

The process of handling the effects of climate changes is actually a course of adapting man's activities to the changing climate.

Zhu Changhan, the CMA chief researcher in charge of the climateinfluence appraisal, said that when planning and constructing big projects, such as the Three Gorges Dam, water diversion projects and returning farmland to forest (grassland or lake) projects, theChinese government always brings climate influence into careful consideration.

In the next 10 years, China will further improve the climate observation system, so as to better manage the country's sustainable development.

Meanwhile, China will further boost the evaluation of climate influence as well as response measures research. Studies concerning the effect of climate changes on China's ecology and economic system will also be carried out.

CMA director Qin Dahe said global warming affects the social, economic and environmental benefits of all countries, and is becoming a concern in the international political and diplomatic arenas.

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