Beijing defers release of plan on warming
Beijing has delayed the release of a much-anticipated national plan on tackling global warming and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
The move comes amid grim warnings by scientists that melting glaciers in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau could have dire consequences for billions of people in the region.
Qin Dahe , expert on climate change who retired this month as director of the China Meteorological Administration, said the melting of glaciers in the country was speeding up with rising temperatures, with up to 25 per cent of them expected to have disappeared by 2050.
'Glaciers have been reduced by 25 per cent in the past 350 years, [with the current pace] only half of them will be left after 2050,' Mr Qin said during a briefing on an assessment of the impact of climate change by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
'Glaciers in China's west and on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau are vital to the national economy and people's livelihoods. And they are the main water source for the Euro-Asian continent and feed nearly half of the world's population.'
He warned that rising sea levels caused by global warming were threatening the long-term development of the mainland's affluent coastal regions.
Panel chairman Rajendra Pachauri supported Mr Qin's views, saying South Asia would also be threatened if large rivers, most originating in the Himalayas, dried up.
He said food production and underground water would be adversely affected by glacial retreat.
Xu Huaqing , of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the postponement of the country's first policy paper was due to much fanfare over climate change both at home and abroad.
'Global warming has recently caught great attention and the release of China's action plan will be rearranged by the State Council,' he said yesterday. 'But it does not mean the action plan, approved by the government earlier this year, will be subject to revisions.'
The groundbreaking policy paper was scheduled to be released by the State Council Information Office today, and would probably now be released after the May holidays, said Professor Xu, who helped draft it.
Scientists have forecast that China's average temperature will rise by as much as 6.4 degrees Celsius between 2000 and 2100.
Feeling the heat
The number of degrees Celsius by which mainland scientists say China's average temperatures will rise this century: 6.4