China warns of climate 'challenges'

Report says rising sea levels could swamp densely-populated coastal cities.

    Major coastal cities such as Shanghai 
    are under threat [Reuters]
    The sea level had risen by an average of 2.5 millimeters annually in recent years, the paper said, citing the oceanic agency's report.
    China Daily said the report predicted that over the next decade, the sea would rise by up to 31 millimeters, threatening low-lying cities.
    An environmentalist said the Chinese will have to begin building dykes like those in the Netherlands to meet the flood threat.
    "But building dykes will be an action taken too late, and we first need to start cutting greenhouse gas emissions," said Yang Ailun, an expert on climate change with Greenpeace China.
    China is planning to reduce greenhouse gases and to develop more environmentally-friendly technologies in an attempt to address the root causes of climate change.
    The plan, part of a campaign to alert local officials to global warming, is expected to be submitted to the cabinet later this month.
    But Lu said the plan was "more of a guideline" which will only exert minor pressure on local officials because it has no specific targets.
    Earlier this month, the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change released a hard-hitting report predicting that the Earth's surface temperatures would rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celcius in the next 100 years.
    The report predicted that sea-levels could rise by up to 59 centimeters.
    A study by China's meteorological bureau said that such an increase would threaten large swathes of the country's coastline where 70 per cent of its large cities are located.
    The area, home to more than half of China's population, also accounts for nearly 60 per cent China's economic output.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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