Members Login
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Global warming threatens China harvests: forecaster

Global warming threatens China harvests: forecaster

Global warming threatens China harvests: forecaster
Reuters, Dec 2, 2009
BEIJING (Reuters) - Droughts and floods stoked by global warming
threaten to destabilize China's grain production, the nation's top
meteorologist has warned, urging bigger grain reserves and strict
protection of farmland and water supplies.
Extreme weather damage can now cause annual grain output in China, the
world's biggest grain producer, to fluctuate by about 10 to 20 percent
from longer-term averages.
But with global warming intensifying droughts, floods and pests, the
band of fluctuation in annual production could widen to between 30 and
50 percent, Zheng Guoguang, head of the China Meteorological
Administration, wrote in a new essay. He did not say how long it might
be before that could happen.
A stretch of especially bad weather for farming conditions could be
disastrous for the world's most populous nation, Zheng wrote in the
latest issue of Seeking Truth (Qiushi), the ruling Communist Party's
main magazine, which was published on Tuesday and reached subscribers
on Wednesday.
"If extreme climatic disasters occur twice or more within five years
-- for example, major drought over two or three years -- then the
impact on our country's economic and social development would be
incalculable," wrote Zheng, who plays a role in developing China's
climate change policies.
Zheng's warning appeared days before governments gather in Copenhagen
seeking to forge the framework of a new agreement on fighting global
As the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, China will be a crucial
player in those talks. Last week the government announced emissions
goals for the next decade.
Zheng's blunt words underscored the hard choices facing Beijing, as
both a big polluter and a vulnerable victim of global warming. He is a
member of a "leading small group" charged with developing the
government's policies on climate change.
A vast developing country with a farming population of some 750
million, China is also one of the nations most vulnerable to global
warming, wrote Zheng. He urged greater attention to adapting to
unstoppable shifts in temperatures, rainfall and extreme weather.
China should make a priority of "reducing the impact of global warming
on the country's food security, and strengthening the capacity of
agriculture to withstand climatic risks," wrote Zheng.
China's grain production has recently reached record levels, despite
damage from droughts, floods and frost. In 2008, China enjoyed a fifth
straight year of bumper harvests, with grain output at a record 525
million tonnes. U.S. output over the 2007-08 growing year was 412
million tonnes.
Citing previously published research, Zheng wrote that by 2030,
China's crop productivity could be 5 to 10 percent lower than it would
be without global warming.
While rising temperatures may extend potential growing times and areas
for some crops, especially in northeast China, the accompanying rise
in evaporation rates is likely to reduce water supplies, undercutting
any increases in crop yields, wrote Zheng.
Without adequate adaptive measures, in the second half of the century
wheat, rice and corn production could fall by as much as 37 percent of
recent averages, he wrote, citing earlier research.
But China "cannot depend on the international marketplace" to make up
for these potential shortfalls, because global warming would also
erode farming productivity in many parts of the globe, Zheng wrote.
Instead, the government should focus on expanding domestic grain
reserves, protecting farmland, developing water-saving technology for
farms, and boosting farmers' productivity, he wrote.

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to

Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard