The climatic change in China is a conundrum. In this regard, the Chinese Government’s stands on climatic change is contentious. Climatic change has been termed as the biggest global threats of the 21st century. The major cause is attributed to the high consumption in developed countries such as China, Japan, France, Germany, Unites States and North Korea. China is one of the world’s leading producers of greenhouse gas (GHG).To understand the impact of climate change, studying climate change at city level will provide an avenue for understanding China’s emission and its capacity to address the challenge. Beijing has been among world’s most heavily polluted cities according to the United Nations Environment Program (2015).However, Beijing has made major strides to cut down on emission by rising standards on auto emission and investing on alternative means for mass transport. China is committed to condense the growth of GHG emissions by 2030 during a United Nations summit held in Paris 2015.The government drafted a blue print which highlighted protection of the environment as its key priorities. It aimed at reducing energy consumption, efficient water usage and the reduction of GHG emissions.
The Causes of Climatic Change in China
The climatic change is majorly caused by the emissions of the greenhouse gases in an atmosphere. In addition, these gases are trapped within the atmosphere, consequently increasing temperatures of the planet. Further, this affects oceans and climate thereby posing deleterious impacts on the environment and people at large. Combustion of fossil fuels is the major emitter of greenhouse gases globally. These fossils include oil, coal, and natural gas. The combustion of fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide, the most crucial greenhouse emitted by human activities. Industrialization has played a crucial role in climatic change (Hansen, James, and Makiko, 11). China is the world number one emitter of the greenhouse gases. The booming China economy has lifted millions of people from poverty but at enormous environmental cost. A large portion of China energy is produced from coal. Additionally, coals provide electricity to power factories, homes, businesses and cities among others. Black sooty coal is toxic to the atmosphere, mountains, rivers and human health. However, the reliance on coal is making it impossible for the world to combat the climate change conundrum.
In China, deforestation is a major cause of climatic change. The ancients forests have been destroyed by human activities, this have assisted in the storage of the carbon dioxide for centuries. In addition, deforestation has been contributed by companies which source the raw materials from the forest (Lam and Yun Fat, 182). The destruction of the forests in China releases carbon dioxide gas in the environment, thereby resulting in global warming.
Impacts of the climatic change in China
The impacts of the climatic change are felt all over globally. As the climate changes, the temperature increases subsequently increasing changes in the climatic zonal shifts. In this vein, climatic change hugely contributes to the frequency and intensity of the floods, droughts, extreme weather conditions and heatwaves (Roberts and Simon, 4557). In addition, the impacts of the GHG likely to be on water, the health system, and the agriculture with cascading effects on distinct social structures.
The agricultural sector is the most affected block by the climatic change. In this regard, climatic change is affecting four main dimensions of the food supply which includes, utilization, stability, accessibility, and availability. In addition, changes in temperature are affecting negatively the country agriculture and the food production system in diverse ways. Recent research on climatic change indicates that crop yields have declined in South Asia by 5%. China is already importing grain in an effort to close its food needs gap that is created by environment change (Den et al 656)
The Water Resources
In China, Global water resources are affected by the climatic change. Nevertheless, rainfall patterns have been altered, and the regularity of the long and catastrophic droughts are increasing. Water is plenty at south China, but scarcer in the north frontier. Most of its Water resources lie in the transition zones where are already being altered by the changes in climate. The two biggest rivers in China; the Huanghe and the Yangtze have shown a significant drop in the water volume due to increased precipitation. The two rivers decreasing run off is a major concern to the agriculturalists since the rivers serve as the basis of the future crop yields.
The fragile ecological facet of China is more prone to the consequences of global warming. The climatic change results in extreme weather conditions that are deleterious to the economy, environment and society at large. Excess air pressures and pollution, have substantially contributed to mortality and morbidity. Most of the China population is highly affected by the air pollution caused by fine particles from coal. Extreme hot summers in 2002-2013 have resulted in thousands of deaths (Obergassel et al, 41). In addition, individuals suffering from cerebrovascular, respiratory system and cardiovascular diseases are more vulnerable to heat waves. In this vein, 45% of all deaths in China are attributed to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular ailments.in addition, high temperatures impair the health and productivity of millions of workers. In this regard, high temperatures incentives are given to the employees for days worked in hot environment, therefore hot temperatures result in increased labor costs
Climate Change Mitigation in China
In an attempt to combat the negative consequences of climate change, the government of China has engaged many initiatives to maximize energy efficiency, alteration of the energy structure, promoting renewable energy, and advancing education and awareness of energy conservation and environmental protection. The core objective of these initiatives is to reduce pollution and improve air quality.
Increasing energy efficiency
Enhancing energy efficiency is a crucial approach to dealing with energy shortages and environmental pollution.in addition, it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases in China. According to the report published by the United Nations Environmental Program (2007), the government took the lead in energy conservation. In this regard, 54 government institutions reduced their energy consumption by 11%. In China, new and innovative techniques have been adopted to reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling purposes. In addition, the green lighting program has been adopted which ensures the implementation of the energy-saving lighting system in the entire Beijing city (Mi et al, 46) another sector that has been transformed is urban transportation. The use of fuel-efficient automobiles improves air quality hence reducing the pollution caused by vehicle fumes.
Energy Shift to Natural Gas and Renewable Energy
China is committed to diversifying its energy structure through the reduction of coal use and diversifying to cleaner energy innovations such as geothermal energy, wind energy, and natural Gas. In addition, coal remains the major source of energy in China, but its consumption has been decreasing as a consequence of national and local bylaws on industrial restructuring. In 2016 the United Nations reported an increase in natural gas consumption by 400-570 million cubic meters and also an increase in the number of the household benefiting from the service from 3.42 million to 5 million (Wang, Changjian, and Fei , 674)
Education and Awareness
In essence, one of the most important climatic actions is the enlightening and creating awareness about the need of environmental conservation. In this regard, the national government collaborates with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to disseminate the message to the general public. A series of campaigns effected by the NGOs has altered people’s behavior, thus contributing towards carbon reduction.in addition, public education on the environment will enhance knowledge and capacity in combating the climate change (Harris et al, 7). In this context, NGOs such as friends of nature and WWF China has collaboratively worked in raising public awareness about energy conservation. Although the government is encouraging the environmental NGOs to mitigate on climate change, the NGOs have a limited role in advocating China’s climate change policies and activities.
In conclusion, climate change affects food security, the public health system and water availability in China. If China embraces the challenge to tackle the impact of climate change, it would serve as a benchmark for other developing economies. The universe will face adverse effects of climate intensely in the near future. However, it’s encouraging to keep in mind that participants of the UN conference on climate approved measures to reduce GHG emissions and try to ensure global temperatures don’t rise by 2⁰celcius above the 21st-century pre-industrialization levels. China has not endorsed the agreement but it has drafted its own national policies for climate change mitigation. As no nation is immune to the adverse effects of climate change, efforts are required at local, national and international level to mitigate the effects of global warming.
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