Global Warming in China

GlobalWarming in China

NameXuefei Wu

GlobalWarming in China

Globalwarming has takenthecenterstagein global politicsin therecentpast,owingto theincreaseddevastatingimpacttheeffecthas alreadychangedon theglobe.Global warming is thenotablechangein global climate,broughtabout by theincreasedgreenhousegasses in theenvironment,among them carbon dioxide, methane, andchlorofluorocarbons. Thesegreenhousegasses traptheinfrared radiationsandheatthat would haveotherwiseescapedfrom theearth’satmosphere,causinga notableincreasein theglobal temperature(Yu, 2008). Themostsignificantgreenhousegasses includewatervaporandcarbondioxide, of which, largeamountsaredirectlyproducedthrough varioushumanactivitiessuchas theburning of thefossilfuels.Otherfactorsincludetheratioof carbonisotopes in atmosphericCO2 that are consistentwith theanthropogenic emissions.ThesefactorshaveincreasedtheCO2 concentrationin theatmosphereby morethan thirty percent, which is a significantincrease,evenin inter-glacial timescale. Global warming leadsto meltingof glaciersthat leadto leadto flooding in someareaswhileotherareasarefacedwith drought.Theseextremeweatherconditionsleadto lossof livesanddestructionof property.Global warming causeshightemperaturesthat impactson agro-production, andimpactswatercycles(Yu, 2008). Ascrutinyof thepastrecordsof one hundred yearsevidencethatChina is among theleadingcountriesin theworld(Wei, 2011). Among thefactorsconsideredin therankincludethenumberof fatalitiesandeconomiclossesfrom climatic disastersattributedto global warming. Chinahas witnesseda notableincreasein global temperaturesof overforty degreeCelsius in manyof its cities,includingShanghai andBeijing in thelasttwo years(Goldstein, 2009). Thisarticleexemplifiesthevariouscausesof global warming, its impactin China andoffersvarioussolutionstoresolvethesituationin China.

Accordingto recentstudies,China has overtakentheUS as theprimarycauseof man-madeglobal warming since 1990, which is consideredthebenchmark yearfortheUN.-led action(Roosa&amp Jhaveri, 2009). Thediscoveryhas ledto increasedpressureon China to actto reducetheemissionsof greenhousegasses. Accordingto theCenter forInternational Climate andEnvironmental Research,Oslo (CICERO), China’s cumulativeGHG productionsince 1990 has surpassedtheemissionsby theUnited States. Thisisattributedto theincreasedstellareconomicgrowthof thecountry(Roosa &amp Jhaveri, 2009). On its part,India is poised to overtakeRussia to be thethirdlargestemitter of theGHGs. Assuch,itis estimatedthatthetwo countrieswill accountmorethan forty-five percent of totalGHGs by 2030, causingthemassivedestructiveimpactsby theyear.Mostof theGHG emittedin China areattributedto thespectaculargrowththecountryhas experiencedin themodernhistory(Goldstein, 2009). Chinahas enjoyedan unparalleledgrowthrateof nine percent in therecentpast,leadingto a massivedemandforenergyto powerthevariousindustriesestablished.In 2000, theChinese theindustrialsectorgrewat a fasterratethan theGDP, leadingto massiveenergyrequirement(Wei, 2011). Theinsufficientgreenenergysourcessawto theadoptionof thefossilfuelsamong industriesthat wereburntto producemassivelevels of Carbon Dioxide. Manyindustriesusecoalandotherfossilfuelsas themainsourcesof energy,which whenburnt,emitsignificantamountsof CO2. Themassiveindustrialgrowthin China has beencitedas theworldgreatestemitter of GHG, contributingto morethan thirty percent of theGlobal GHGs (Yu, 2008).

Themainreasonthat contributedto themassivegrowthof GHG emissionsin China is thefactthatChina has developedto be the“worldFactory,” ormoreprecisely,a factorythat is ownedby theworld(Yu,2008).Amajorityof internationalcompanies,includingthosethat emitthemostenvironmentally toxiceffluents are directsub-units orsubcontractors in China andhavesettheir companiesin China. Countriessuchas theUS, European countries,Japan among others havesubcontracted orestablishedsubsidiaries in China, owingto theavailability of laborin thecountry(Roosa &amp Jhaveri, 2009). In essence,China has beentransformedto be themanufacturinghubforinternationalcompaniesowingthelowcostof laborin thecountry.Thisphenomenonwasacknowledgedby theChinese Foreign Ministry spokesmanQin Gang in 2007, whowasof theviewthatmuchof GHG emissionsare from foreignindustries,which exportsmostof their products(Roosa&amp Jhaveri, 2009). Aresearchby theUniversity of Sussex in 2004 evidenced thatone thousand, four hundred andninety million tonnesof CO2 wereemittedby theforeignindustriesbased in China, which exportedmostof their products(Goldstein, 2009).On thecentrally,thecountryavoidedtheemissionsof three hundred andeighty-one million tonsof CO2 due to theimports. Thisisevidencethatthemajorityof Chinese industrialGHG emissionsarisefrom foreignindustriesthat arebasedin thecountry(Harris, 2004).

Theincreasedindustrialization in theChina has ledto theemergenceof a wealthyclassof people,whohavepurchasedmoreprivatecars,addingto thealreadyhugenumberof carsin thecountry(Roosa&amp Jhaveri, 2009). Thenear-total dependenceon thepetroleumfuelson carsandotherlocomotivesin China, theincreasednumberof carsandotherlocomotiveshaveincreasedtheconcentrationof theCO2 in theatmosphere.Locomotivesburnthesefuelsin internalcombustionengineswhich accordingto expertswill continueto a foreseeable future.Theignitionof themixtureof thepetroleumfuelsandOxygen givesoff largeamountsof energyto propelthelocomotive.However,itemitslargeamountsof watervapor,CO2 andotherdangerouswasteproducts(Harris, 2004). Theexhaust systemsof locomotivesaredesignedin a waythat theyreleasetheeffluents directlyinto theatmospherewithout anyformof treatment.Theseeffluents combineandbecomepartof theatmosphere,addingto thelevel of GHG concentrationsin theatmosphere,leadingto global warming. Globally, aboutfifteen percent of themanmade CO2 are emittedby locomotivessuchas trains,trucks,ships,airplanesandothervehicles.In China, locomotivescontributeto aboutten percent of thetotalman-madeCO2 emittedin China (Roosa &amp Jhaveri, 2009). Hence,a highnumberof vehiclesandotherlocomotivesin China have ledto a significantincreasein theatmosphericconcentrationof GHG, propellingglobal warming in thecountry(Harris, 2004).

Coalremainsa significantsourceof energyin China, accountingformorethan fifteen percent of allenergyconsumedin thecountryin 2014 (Harris, 2004). In therecentpast,coalwasfavoredin thegenerationof Chinese electricitybuttheusehas declinedin favorof naturalsourcesandothergreensourcesof energy(Harris, 2004). In China, sixty percent of thetotalcoalconsumedin 2012 wasusedin thegenerationof electricity.Therestwasusedforindustrialpurposessuchas manufacturingandprocessing with as wellascommercialandresidentialsectors.Coalhas thehighestcontents of carbonamong all thefossilfuels,henceproducesthemaximumamountsof CO2 whenburntto produceenergy.Additionally, theprocessof miningcoalminingprocessemitsmethane gas,which whencombinedwith otherGHGs, leadto global warming andothergreen-house-gas effects.Assuch,China, thelargestglobal producerandconsumerof coalemitmorethan eight billion metric tonsof Methane andCO2 from theminingandconsumptionof coal.Theseemissionshave heightenedglobal warming in the region and the world at large (Goldstein,2009).

TheCanada andKyoto Protocol protocolsexpectgovernmentsof respectivestatesto imposeanti-emission policiesaimedat reducingtheamountsof industrialeffluents includingtheGHG gasses. Assuch,China, beingthelargestemitter of GHGs andotherenvironmental hazards,is expectedto imposeharshpoliciesmeantto reducefactoryemissions(Brainard, Jones &amp Purvis, 2009). Since the1980s, theissuesof imposinganti-emission policieshavebeenhighlypoliticized in China, leadingto reducedefficiencyof theestablishedpolicies.Since theKyoto protocolis not legallyenforceable, China has defendedits positionandin mostcasesfailedto imposetheanti-emission policies.Lackof theanti-emission policiesin China has giventhevariousindustriesa freewayto releasetheir effluents into theenvironment,increasingthelevels of environmental hazardssuchas theGHG in theenvironment(Brainard, Jones &amp Purvis, 2009).Thishascontributedto theincreasedenvironmental pollutionin China, to astonishinglevels that havesurpassedtheemissionsof theearlierindustrialized countriessuchas theUS. However,theincreasedlevels of smogin thecountryhavepromptedthegovernmentto makeemergencymeasuresto reducetheamountsof industrialemissions.Accordingto Xinhua newsagency,thegovernmenthas orderedmorethan fifty manufacturingindustriesto reducetheir industrialeffluents by thirty percent, with somemajoremitters beingcompletelyshutoff (Harris, 2004).

Impactsof global warming in China

Chinais alreadyfeelingthedevastatingimpactsof global warming, with themajorityof theChinese citiesexperiencingseveredrought.In 2014, theHenan province,thecountry’stopgrainproducerwashitby drought.Thisledto an economiclossof morethan 7.3 billion Renminbi, with ninety-seven percent of theselossesarisingdirectlyfrom agriculture(Anderson, 2008). Theneighboring Hebei provincealsorecordedreducedlevels of rainfall,with someareasexperiencinglessthan fifty percent of annualaveragesper year(Harris,2004). TheLiaoning provinceis stillin theprocessof recoveringfrom the2014 droughtthat wastermedas theworstdroughteverto hittheprovincesince 1951. Thesedroughtshavesignificantly reducedAgro-production since mostof theaffectedNorthernprovincesare theprincipalproducersof agriculturalproduction(Tiezzi, 2014).

Onthecontrary,southernChinese provincesare experiencingdevastatingfloods,evenas thenorthernChinese provincesdryup. In theJuly of 2014, Southwestern China experiencedmassiveflooding from theexcessiverainfallthat hadengulfedthearea.TheSouthwestern flooding ledto thelossof thirty-four livesin theregionandledto an economiclossof 5.21 billion Renminbi owingto theincreaseddestructionof property(Roosa &amp Jhaveri, 2009). Themid-July Typhoon Rammasunis consideredthelargestto makelandfall in China over a periodof forty yearsandresultedin massiverainsandflooding in theregion.Morerecently,China wasstruckby thedevastatingflooding in Guizhou provinceleadingto thedemiseof at leasttwelve people.Additionally, thefloodsledto massivelossof propertyworthmorethan six billion Renminbi (Brainard, Jones &amp Purvis, 2009). Thedroughtsin northernChinese andthefloodsin Southern Chinese floodsare not a coincidencebutpartof thevariousimpactsglobal climatechange.Accordingto a Chinese Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change(IPCC), thenorthernsideof thecountrywill experienceincreaseddroughts.On thecontrary,thesouthernandwesternsidesof thecountrywill experienceincreasedrainfallandflooding, a phenomenonthat is attributable to global warming (Tiezzi, 2014). Accordingto theIPCC, China will experiencesignificantchangesin thedistributionof rainfall,as wellas asignificantshiftin otherweatherconditionsdue to theimpactsof climatechangein thecountry(Roosa&amp Jhaveri, 2009).. However,changesin rainfalldistributionpatternsare onlya smallpartof thevariousdevastatingimpactsof global warming (Tiezzi, 2014).

Globalwarming has thethreatenedthewaterandfoodsecurityin thecountryandAsia, in general,as wellas increasingtherateof occurrenceof thenaturaldisasters.Theincreasedglobal temperaturehas ledto meltingof iceglaciersat theYangtze andYellow riversources,predisposingthesewatersourcesto futurewatershortage(Wei, 2011). Thesituationis aggravatedby theincreasedconsumptionof waterin currenttimes.Thefutureshortageof waterwill automatically affecttheagriculturalsector,leadingto reducedagro-production, furtherthreateningthefoodsecurityof thecountry.Accordingto theIPCC, thecurrentmajorgrainproducingChinese provinceswill reducetheir annualgrainproduction.However,there is a possibilitythatsomepartsof thecountrymay increasetheir production(International Society of sustainabilityprofessionals,2008).Theincreasedglobal warming predisposesthecountryto massivefloods,which analystsarguethat arenot reservedto theruralareasbutalsothemega citiessuchas Tianjin, Shanghai, andHong Kong (Roosa, &amp Jhaveri, 2009).

Measuresto combat Global warming

ThecurrenttrendsattestthatChina will bestruckby variousnaturalcalamitiessuchas floodsanddroughts.TheIPCC predictsthattheeconomiclossesthat will arisefrom thesecalamitiessurpassingallothercalamitiescombined(PB Americas, 2013). Together,thesefactorsposea notablethreatto China’s prosperityandfoodoutput.With theeconomicgrowthof thecountryexpectedto rivalgianteconomiessuchas theUS, thecountrymay witnessincreasedemissionof theGHG. Thesituationwill beaggravatedifadequatepoliciesandothermeasuresare not takento combatthehighemissionsin thecountry.Thesedevastatingimpactsof climatechangehavepromptedthecountryto adoptappropriatepoliciesthat are aimedlesseningthequantitiesof industrialeffluents (Roosa, &amp Jhaveri, 2009). Thecountryagreedto implementtheforty-five percent reductionof thecountry’scarbonintensityby 2020. However,thelevels of CO2 remainunacceptability high,with emissionsdoublingbetween 1996 and2006 as comparedto thepreviousdecades. China`s,climatechangepolicies,are guidedby six principles,among them,addressingtheclimatechange(PB Americas, 2013). Chinahas takennotablestepsin adoptingthegreensourcesof energy.In 2005, thecountrysetto constructtwo windpowergoalsandhadachieveda 5 GW by 2007 andhas sinceraisedthetargetto 100GW by 2020. Chinahas heavilyinvestedin therenewable sourcesof energyandis currently theglobal leaderin renewable energycapacityby 2005. Moreinvestmentsaremadein hydro andsolarwaterprojectsallin a bidto reduceGHG emissions.Adoptionof thegreensourcesof energyis one of thebeststrategiesforreducingGHG emissionsince thenon-green sourcesof energyare theprimaryemitters of greenhousegasses. Industriesandindividualsshould be compelledconserveenergyby switchingoff theelectronics,orusingtheenergyefficientelectronics,therebyreducingwastage of energy(International Society of sustainabilityprofessionals,2008).

Additionally,China should adoptappropriatepoliciesto reducetheemissionsof GHG in theatmosphere.Thesepoliciesshould befocusedon thetransportsectoras wellas thefueleconomy.Thegovernmentshould adopttheroadpricing, theVATfees,andthefuelpricing strategiesto reducetheemissionsof GHG by in thetransportsector.Additionally, thegovernmentshould encouragetheuseof alternative meansof transportthat doesnot burnGHG emittingfuelssuchas transitinvestments,HOV lanes,andbicycletransitstrategiesamong others (Anderson, 2008). Additionally, thegovernmentshould investinalternative sourcesof locomotivefuelsto reducetheamountsof CO2 emittedby thelocomotives.Further,thegovernmentshould considerchangingthevehiclepurchaseandretirementdecisionssince theoldvehiclesare thegreatestemitters of GHGs andreducingthemaximummilerequirementto betraveledby vehicles.Reducingthemaximummilestraveledby vehicleswill be aptin reducingthelevels of fuelconsumption,therebyreducingtheGHG emissions(Roosa &amp Jhaveri, 2009). Mostof thesestrategiesfallunder theTransportation Control Measures (TCM) that requiresfederalandlocalsupportforefficiency.Thegovernmentshould compelthepopulaceto changetheir mindset to adopttheuseof publictransportsystemorcommute, ratherthan usingprivatevehicles(International Society of sustainabilityprofessionals,2008). Additionally, the government should establish means to checkcompanies that emit the GHGs, compelling them to pay for theiremissions. The carbon taxes should be imposed on all industries thatemit a certain level of the GHG, regardless of whether the industryis owned by the locals, or foreign based. The polluter-paydirectives will make polluting activities more expensive, compellingcompanies to adopt the less costly green energy sources(International Society of sustainabilityprofessionals,2008). The polluter-to-pay policies should be made more weight byadoption of strategies that compel the corporate world to adopt thegreenhouse gasses, such as reducing corporate taxes on companies thatadopt the green energy sources. These strategies will increase thecosts of production among companies that adopts use carbon emittingenergies and reduce the cost of production among producers who adoptgreen energy sources. This will compel companies switch to greenenergy sources, effectively reducing the level of carbon dioxideemitted into the atmosphere (International Society of sustainabilityprofessionals,2008).

Fromtheaforestated, global warming is thegradualincreasein theglobal temperatureas a resultof thegreenhousegasses, among them CO2, methane, chlorofluorocarbons andwatervapor.Thesegasses trapheatradiationsthat would haveotherwiseescapedfrom theearth’satmosphere.Mostof thesegasses areemittedthroughhumanactivities,suchas combustionof thefossilfuels,industrialeffluents among others. Theincreasedglobal temperaturesleadto significantchangein global climate,with someareasexperiencingdroughtandothers flooding. Theincreasedtemperaturesleadto meltingglacierscausingmassivefloodsin someregionswhileothers facedrought.Chinaiscurrently rankedas thelargestemitter of theGHG, mostof which are emittedby thevariousindustriesestablishedin theregion.Theimpactsof global warming are evidentin theChina, leadingto droughtandreducedrainfallin theNorthern Chinese provinces,whereastheSouthern andwesternsidesof thecountryare experiencingincreasedfloods.Thegovernmenthas since implementedvariouspoliciesmeantto curbthemenaceof GHG emissions,among them passingpoliciesto enforcetheKyoto protocol.Additionally, thegovernmenthas investedheavilyin thegreensourcesof energy,shiftingfrom thecontemporaryenergysourcesthat havebeencontributingto GHG emission.Tosolvethemenacecompletely,thegovernmentneedsto institutetougheranti-emission policies,as wellas implementingtheTCM policies.TheTCM policiesaimat reducetheuseof privatelocomotivesin favorof thecommuting orusingthepublicmeansof transport.

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