The massive Three Gorges Dam project has played no direct part in the extreme weather in Sichuan and Chongqing that brought a severe drought last year and heavy rainfall this year, a top meteorologist said yesterday. Dong Wenjie, director of the China Meteorological Administration's Beijing Climate Centre, said this year's floods showed that claims the project had changed Sichuan's climate and induced last year's drought were unjustified. 'Many factors are interacting and you have to look at which factor has the biggest influence,' Mr Dong said. He said more studies were needed to examine the theory but the biggest cause of the extreme weather was the change in atmospheric conditions. Since the middle of this month, Sichuan and Chongqing have been pounded by heavy rainstorms described as 'happening once in a hundred years'. The rains followed 'the worst drought in 200 years' last year, prompting overseas environmentalists and meteorologists to blame the climate swings on the dam project. But mainland meteorologists reject the allegations, saying drought is the result of transregional or even global climate change, and a single water reserve could not cause such a dry spell. Mr Dong's colleague, Jiao Meiyan, said earlier this month that Sichuan and Chongqing came under a strong subtropical high-pressure belt last year, causing high temperatures. But the belt has been in a more easterly position this year, making it easier for water vapour from the Bay of Bengal and South China Sea to accumulate over the two areas. Mr Dong also said the mainland would not bow to international pressure to cut back its carbon dioxide emissions because the demands were unfair. 'China's population is four times that of the US but the average per capita emissions are far less than the US. Everyone is equal in front of nature and so is the carbon dioxide emission issue. It's ridiculous to force China promise such things.'