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Home >> China
UPDATED: 17:56, June 04, 2007
Facts & figures: China's basic national circumstances of climate change
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Studies indicate that climate change has caused some impacts on China, such as sea level rise in the coastal areas, glacial retreat in northwest area, the earlier arrival of spring phenophase. Compared with other countries, however, China face some special national circumstances of climate change. Vulnerable Ecosystem

China is a country with a vulnerable ecosystem. The national forest area for 2005 is 175 million hectares and the coverage rate is just 18.21 percent. China's grassland area for the same year is 400 million hectares, most of which are high-cold prairie and desert steppe while the temperate grasslands in Northern China are on the verge of degradation and desertification because of drought and environmental deterioration. China's total area of desertification for 2005 is 2.63 million square kilometers, accounting for 27.4 percent of the country's territory. China has a continental coastline extending over 18,000 kilometers and an adjacent sea area of 4.73 million square kilometers, as well as more than 6,500 islands over 500 square meters. As such, China is vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise. Coal-dominated Energy Mix

China's primary energy mix is dominated by coal. In 2005, the primary energy production in China was 2,061 Mtce, of which raw coal accounted for as high as 76.4 percent. For the same year, China's total primary energy consumption was 2,233 Mega tonnes of coal equivalent (Mtce), among which, the share of coal was 68.9 percent, oil, 21 percent, and natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and solar energy 10.1 percent; while the shares of coal, oil, and natural gas, hydropower and nuclear power in the world primary energy consumption were 27.8 percent, 36.4 percent and 35.8 percent, respectively. Because of the coal-dominated energy mix, carbon dioxide emission intensity of China's energy consumption is relatively high. Huge Population

China has the largest population in the world. In 2005, the population of China's mainland was 1.31 billion (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), accounting for 20.4 percent of the world total. China is still at a low level of urbanization, with a huge rural population of about 750 million, and in 2005, urban population accounted for only 43 percent of the national total population, lower than the world average. Huge population results in huge employment pressure, with annually more than 10 million new labor forces in the urban areas and about 10 million new rural labor forces moving to the urban areas as a result of the urbanization process. Due to the huge population, China's per capita energy consumption is still at a low level. In 2005, China's per capita commercial energy consumption was about 1.7 Mtce, only two thirds of the world average, let alone the average level of the developed countries. Relatively Low Level of Economic Development

Although China kept a double-digit growth for four consecutive years, the per capita Gross Domestic Product was about 1,714 U.S. dollars, only about one fourth of the world average level. Remarkable disparity in economic development exists among different regions of China. In 2005, the per capita GDP of the eastern areas of China was 2,877 U.S. dollars while that of the western areas was 1,136 U.S. dollars, only 39.5 percent of the former. The income disparity between rural and urban residents is also great. Furthermore, poverty eradication is still a huge challenge for China. By the end of 2005, the poverty-stricken people in China's rural areas numbered 23.65 million, with the per capita annual pure income less than 683 Chinese Yuan.

Source: Xinhua

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