China Meteorological Administration: Climate Adaptation “More Realistic and Urgent” than Mitigation for Food Security
Writing in Qiushi, the official magazine of China’s Central Committee of the Communist Party, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) chief Zheng Guoguang has asserted that “it is more realistic and urgent” for China to adapt to the effects of climate change, rather than focus on mitigation, in its efforts to enhance food security.
Terming climate change “an objective fact”, Guoguang notes that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), published in 2007, projected that “extreme meteorological disasters” would become more frequent as well as more acute, and that such events had already increased 500% in frequency by the 1990s as compared to the 1950s.
|The drought situation in China in early February 2009. Source: CMA. Click to enlarge.|
Guoguang estimates that drought in China creates, on average, losses of 30 billion kilograms of grain per year, or about 60% of all of the agricultural losses attributed to natural disaster in China. The drought that has been prevalent in northern China for the last thirty years is not expected to ease for at least a decade, and seasonal drought has appeared in some of the normally “rainfall-abundant” southern provinces.
While CMA has observed the effects of climate change producing “some favorable factors to grain production in parts of China”, such as increased warming in the colder high latitudes, warming is expected to reduce the country’s overall food production. Absent any changes in China’s “grain production mechanism”, crop farming production could fall by 5 to 30 percent.
Adaptation strategies recommended by Guoguang include the banning of biofuels, stockpiling of larger grain reserves to offset annual production fluctuations, and a rapid increase in weather modification strategies such as cloud seeding.
In 2007, China announced that it would increase its artificial rain output to 50 billion tons of rain per year by 2010. At the time, Chinas weather modification efforts, were estimated to employ more than 30,000 people.
Late last month, China announced that it would reduce its carbon intensity per unit of GDP by 40-45% by 2020 against a reference year of 2005, rather than the widely recognized 1990 reference year, but would not set overall greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.