China Releases First National Climate Change Assessment; Proposes Increased Prices on Energy Products
|Ministers release the assessment on climate change.|
China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and six other ministries jointly issued a preliminary report on the country’s first national assessment of climate change and its impacts. The full assessment will be fully released in 2007.
According to the report, China’s average annual temperature will increase between 1.3° and 2.1° C by 2020. By the middle of the century, average temperatures will rise by as much as 3.3° C and by 2100 by as much as 6° C.
Work on the report began in December 2002 by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the China Meteorological Administration, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission, the State Environmental Protection Administration, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Water Resources, State Forestry Bureau. State Oceanic Administration, the National Natural Science Foundation and other 12 departments worked closely together on the report.
The report is divided into three parts: the history and future trends of climate change; adaptation to the impacts of climate change; and the socio-economic evaluation of the mitigation of climate change. The main conclusions of the report are:
Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities is leading to the increasingly serious problem of global climate change. In addition to the increases in average annual temperature, average annual precipitation may increase. Regional differences in precipitation patterns will become more obvious, and the north will likely show a marked increase in rains.
However, with the average increase in temperatures also comes an increase in evaporation, further aggravating the water shortages in the north. Extreme weather and climate events will increase in the future.
China’s agricultural and water resources, forests and other natural ecosystems are vulnerable to the effects of global climate change. The report highlights the vulnerability of the coastal zone and coastal ecological systems to the adverse effects of global climate change, and notes that these may be exacerbated by natural disasters.
The report states that China needs to make a positive contribution to the protection of the global environment.
The assessment concludes that it is now necessary for China to deal with global climate change as a new driving force, and to promote new energy technologies, energy conservation and resources.
The report asserts that developing with global climate change policies and measures to achieve sustainable development in China is of great significance, and must be tackled by government at all levels.
Further study is required on the scientific and technical issues, and to study the feasibility and effectiveness of certification.
China’s 11th Five-Year Plan period has the monitoring of global environmental change and countermeasures"as the key tasks for scientific and technological work, as well as the strengthening of energy-saving technologies, renewable energy technologies, nuclear technology, efficient use of clean coal technology and carbon dioxide capture and storage technologies.
Separately, and the day after the public release of the report, China News reported that the State Development and Reform Commission (SDRC) approved a pricing scheme on the consumption of energy products. After soliciting ideas from various local departments, SDRC will submit the scheme to the State Council for approval. Once the scheme is approved by the State Council, it will mean that prices of energy products will change greatly in 2007.
Based on this scheme, the pricing reform will start in energy products related with water, petroleum, electricity, natural gas, coal and land resources consumption. Garbage treatment and sewage water disposal fees will also be raised. The scheme differs from previous ones in that the costs of reducing and controlling environmental pollution and the inevitable costs paid after natural resources are depleted are both calculated in setting the new price.
The scheme aims to promote energy conservation and the comprehensive use of energy products, so that the prices can reflect the scarcity of resources that make these products. It also wants to convey the message that those who pollute the environment will need to pay for the pollution.