Climate change in China

Climate change in China

Climate change in China is a contentious issue since it is not required to be a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol yet it is responsible for one of the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions.


The People's Republic of China is an active participant in the climate change talks and other multilateral environmental negotiations, and claims to take environmental challenges seriously but is pushing for the developed world to help developing countries to a greater extent. It is a signatory to the Basel Convention governing the transport and disposal of hazardous waste and the Montreal Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Kyoto Protocol, although China is not required to reduce its carbon emissions under the terms of the present agreement. On 19 June 2007, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency announced, on the basis of an analysis of fossil fuel consumption (including especially the coal power plants[1]) and cement production data, that China surpassed the United States as the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, putting out 6,200 million tons, in comparison with America's 5,800 million.[2]

China can suffer some of the effects of global warming, including sea level rise, glacier retreat and air pollution.


In 2009 China was the top emitter by fossil fuels CO2. In 2005 China was the top emitter by all greenhouse gas emissions including construction and deforestation. In the cumulative emissions between 1850 and 2007 China was second.

According to data from the US Energy Information Administration China was the top emitter by fossil fuels CO2 in 2009 China: 7,710 million tonnes (mt) (25.4%) ahead of US: 5,420 mt (17.8%), India: 5.3%, Russia: 5.2% and Japan: 3.6%. China was also the top emitter of all greenhouse gas emissions including building and deforestation in 2005: China: 7,220 mt (16.4%), US: 6,930 mt (15.7%), 3. Brazil 6.5%, 4. Indonesia: 4.6%, 5. Russia 4.6%, 6. India 4.2%, 7. Japan 3.1%, 8. Germany 2.3%, 9. Canada 1.8%, and 10. Mexico 1.6%.[3]

In the cumulative emissions between 1850 and 2007 the top emittors were: 1. US 28.8% 2. China: 9.0%, 3. Russia 8.0%, 4. Germany 6.9%, 5. UK 5.8%, 6. Japan 3.9 %, 7. France 2.8%, 8. India 2.4%, 9. Canada 2.2% and 10. Ukraine 2.2%.[3]

The carbon dioxide emissions per capita in China were 5.83 t/capita (with 80th top position) slightly higher than e.g. in Sweden 5.58 t/capita.[4]


According to the Dutch environmental research organization PBL cement production is a large source of carbon dioxide emissions in China. In 2008 China produced 51 % of the world’s cement which made it as the biggest emittor of CO2 in 2008.[5]


China is the largest consumer of coal in the world: in 2009 18,449 TWh of the world total 39,340 TWh.[6]

Effects of climate change


According to IPCC (2007) from 1900 to 2005 precipitation has declined in parts of southern Asia. By the 2050s freshwater availability including large river basins is projected to decrease in Asian regions. Coastal areas, specially the delta areas in Asia are projected to have increased flooding risk. Floods and droughts are expected to increase health concerns: diseases and mortality.[7]

Climate change mitigation

Both internationally and within the People's Republic of China, there has been an ongoing debate over China's responsibilities, particularly since 2006, when China surpassed the US as the country with the highest emissions rate for the main atmospheric gas in global warming, carbon dioxide (CO2)[8]

Premier Wen Jiabao has promised to use an “iron hand” in the 2010 summer to make his nation more energy efficient. China has surpassed the rest of the world as the biggest investor in wind turbines and other renewable energy technology. And it has dictated tough new energy standards for lighting and gas kilometrage for cars.[9]

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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