MAC/20: Mines and Communities

China Update

Published by MAC on 2006-12-30


China update

30 December 2006

In contrast to lies fed by the Bush regime, China's first official assessment of the impacts of global climate change paints a picture of looming disaster. However, as so often characteristic of China, there's still a big gap between policy and implementation.

One official has charged local administrators with faking pollution figures, claiming to show that sulphur dioxide emissions are diminishing when the opposite is the case.


Dire Warnings From China's first Climate Change Report

Agence France Press

30 December 2006

Temperatures in China will rise significantly in coming decades and water shortages will worsen, state media has reported, citing the government's first national assessment of global climate change.

"Greenhouse gases released due to human activity are leading to ever more serious problems in terms of climate change," the Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement.

"Global climate change has an impact on the nation's ability to develop further," said the ministry, one of 12 government departments that prepared the report.

In just over a decade, global warming will start to be felt in the world's most populous country, and it will get warmer yet over the next two or three generations.

Compared with 2000, the average temperatures will increase by between 1.3 and 2.1 degrees Celsius by 2020, the China News Service reported, citing the assessment.

By the middle of the century, the annual average temperature in China will rise by as much as 3.3 degrees Celsius (more than five degrees fahrenheit), and by 2100 it could soar by as much as six degrees Celsius, according to the news service.

"We're in a period of rapid economic growth, and energy consumption will increase as a result," Liu Hongbin, a Beijing-based expert at the National Climate Center, told AFP.

"As a result, China will continue to emit a rather large amount of greenhouse gases."

The report predicted that precipitation will also increase drastically in the coming decades, rising up to 17 percent by the turn of the next century, according to the news service.

However, this will bring little or no relief to China's frequently drought-stricken farmers, the report noted.

Although parched north China is expected to have more rain, water shortages will increase because of faster evaporation caused by higher temperatures.

Drought, heat waves and other extreme weather will also hit China more often, according to the report.

Few aspects of human endeavor in China will be immune to the devastating effects of global warming, the report suggests.

Even a railway that opened this year linking remote Tibet to provinces further east will be affected.

This is because part of the rail is built on top of subsoil that maintains sub-zero temperatures throughout the year but may start to thaw due to hotter weather "threatening the safety of railway operations", the news service said.

"The report will serve as the country's scientific and technical reference in policy making and international cooperation," said Li Xueyong, vice minister of the science ministry.

The report notes that China has already started seeing the effects of global warming, the China News Service said.

Glaciers in the nation's northwest have decreased by 21 percent since the 1950s, the report says, according to the news agency.

It also says all China's major rivers have shrunk over the past five decades, although it provides no figures for the actual decrease.

In a separate report, the state-run Xinhua news agency said the water level in the middle reaches of the nation's longest river, the Yangtze, hit a record low this week.

The port city of Anqing, on the Yangtze River, encountered a low of 1.95 meters (6.4 feet) on Tuesday, a level posing a risk to shipping, Xinhua said.

Xinhua did not directly attribute the problems to global warming but quoted experts as saying the low water levels were due to a decrease in rainfall.


China Says Some Officials Fake Pollution Reports

PlanetArk

29 December 2006

BEIJING - Some local governments in China fake pollution reports and release false statistics, state media on Thursday cited an official with the country's environment watchdog as saying.

China has promised to wage war on land, air and water pollution, the result of years of breakneck economic growth and lax enforcement of rules in the rush to get rich.

Growing public unhappiness with pollution, especially in the vast countryside, and the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games have also pushed Beijing to take the subject more seriously.

"The figures on pollution control reported by local governments dropped remarkably this year, while the real environmental situation continues to deteriorate," Xinhua news agency cited an unnamed environment official as saying.

"The inaccurate figures were caused by insufficient supervision of the local governments and possible fabrication," said the official, who works for the State Environmental Protection Administration.

According to figures reported by 26 regional governments, the goal set by Beijing of cutting main pollutants by 2 percent should have been hit, the official said.

But the level of sulphur dioxide, one of the country's main pollutants that often chokes big cities like Beijing, actually rose by 2 percent this year, according to the watchdog.

"The administration will send working groups to the provinces to check the local environmental statistics," Xinhua added.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE


Curb on coal and oil exports

PlanetArk

27 December 2006

BEIJING - China said on Tuesday it would keep taxing crude oil and coal exports in 2007, continuing a curb on overseas sales of energy resources.

The Ministry of Finance said on its Web site (www.mof.gov.cn) that the new tax policy would take effect from Jan. 1 next year, but it did not specify the tax rate for either fuel.

Beijing started charging a 5 percent on both crude and coal exports from Nov. 1 in a move which could help divert more supply to meet rising domestic demand.

The policy could further cut back China's crude oil exports, which dropped some 20 percent in the first 11 months of the year to 5.43 million tonnes (119,000 barrels per day) as shown in official customs data.

China, the world's top coal producer and consumer, exported 12 percent less of the fossil fuel in the January-November period versus a year ago at 57.4 million tonnes, customs has said.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

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