China’s Pollution Level ‘Threatens Prosperity’

In China’s “Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change,” the government said global warming threatens China’s development and it projects changes in how the nation feeds itself. That’s according to Reuters.

China is the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gas from industry, transport and shifting land-use. The report says this threatens China’s long-term prosperity.

Grain output could fall from 5 to 20% in the next 30 years. However, the loss could be countered by improved crop choice and farming practices, Reuters reports. Shifts in crop patterns may also be necessary, the report says.

By the end of the century, China’s average temperature will have risen by 2.5 to 4.6 degrees Celsius above the average in the mid-to-late 20th century.

Lack of water could also pose a problem, with rain concentrated in summer and autumnal seasons.

Rising sea levels could also impact industrialization by threatening big cities and export zones, Reuters says.

In addition, the local government in Beijing has started using a more rigorous air quality measure that showed the air was hazardous in at least two parts of the city, the Washington Post reports.

The admission comes on the heels of online protests and complaints about the city government, which has historically downplayed pollution as fog, the Washington Post says.

The pollution is the result of too many cars and too many coal-burning factories and has resulted in canceled and delayed flights, worsening traffic and highway closures.

The U.S. Embassy gauges Beijing Air Quality from a roof monitor and posts Twitter updates. Recent updates called the air “Hazardous” and “Beyond Index.” There has long been a discrepancy between the U.S. Embassy and the Beijing municipal government regarding air quality. The Washington Post reports the discrepancy has been so great that a Chinese official tried to pressure U.S. officials to stop making their readings public in 2009.

Residents are starting to openly complain and are using handheld devices and other means to access Twitter updates even though Twitter is officially blocked there, the Washington Post reports.

Last week, the government made its first admission that the air posed hazardous conditions in Tongzhou and Fangshan.

The Washington Post also reports local government officials have announced plans to try to clean the air, including preventing dust from drifting from construction sites and new regulations for industrial pollutants.

Prior to the 2008 Olympics, Beijing cleaned the air by shutting down factories and imposing tough restrictions on cars.

To read the full article by Reuters cited in this story, click here

To read the full article by The Washington Post cited in this story, click here

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