Thu, Jan 04, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Beijing report highlights climate change concerns

AP , BEIJING

Climate change will harm China's ecology and economy in the coming decades, possibly causing large drops in agricultural output, said a government report made public yesterday.

The report, issued by six government departments including the State Meteorological Bureau, the China Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Technology, comes several days after state media said last year was hotter than average with more natural disasters than normal.

"Climate change will increase the instability of agricultural production," the report said, according to the official Xinhua news agency. "If no measures are taken, in the latter half of the century production of wheat, corn and rice in China will drop by as much as 37 percent."

It said that average temperatures in China would rise by 2?C to 3?C in the next 50 to 80 years, and that this would cause "the speed of change to accelerate."

The report did not say what measures should be taken to combat climate change. It added that evaporation rates for some inland rivers would increase by 15 percent. China already faces a severe water shortage, especially in the northern part of the country.

On Sunday, Xinhua reported that temperatures last year were on average 1?C higher than in normal years. Meteorological officials were quoted as saying there was less rain than normal, down 16mm from an average year.

Dong Wenjie (董文傑), director of the Beijing Climate Center, said the high temperatures were caused by global warming, while the annual meteorological report released by the China Meteorological Administration said last year had been a disastrous year for loss of life and property damage.

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