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China Blames Climate Change for Extreme Weather

<-- Climate Shift

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Source: Truthout

China Blames Climate Change for Extreme Weather
By Ben Blanchard
Reuters

Thursday 02 August 2007

Beijing - China blamed global warming on Wednesday for this year's weather extremes, which have led to more than 700 deaths from flooding and left more than seven million with little access to water.

Such extremes are likely to get worse and more common in the future, said Song Lianchun, head of the China Meteorological Administration's Department of Forecasting Services and Disaster Mitigation.

"It should be said that one of the reasons for the weather extremes this year has been unusual atmospheric circulation bought about by global warming," Song told a news conference carried live on the central government Web site (www.gov.cn).

"These kind of extremes will become more frequent, and more obvious. This has already been borne out by the facts," he said. "I think the impact on our country will definitely be very large."

Some parts of China have had too much rain, and others too little this summer.

About 7.5 million people are suffering from drought in a wide swathe of the country which includes Jiangxi and Hunan in the south to Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in the northeast, Xinhua news agency said.

In Jiangxi, Hunan and Heilongjiang, more than one third of agricultural land has been hit, the report added.

Temperatures have been topping out at about 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), which has strained power grids.

"Analysts expect that over the coming period, drought-affected areas will remain hot and have little rain, the drought will spread and get more serious," Xinhua said.

Rainstorms

Meanwhile, storms in the northern province of Shanxi have killed more than 20 people and destroyed more than 4,000 homes. In one county of the province, it rained for 36 hours non-stop starting from Saturday evening.

Another 26 died and 26 were missing in the neighbouring province of Shaanxi after rainstorms over the past few days, while 21 were killed and 61 were missing in central Henan, Xinhua said.

China is rapidly overtaking the United States to become the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases. It is under rising international pressure to accept mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions from its factories and vehicles.

China has refused to comply, but the government has shown greater efforts in addressing energy and environment issues.

Beijing also argues that unless the United States is made to cap its carbon emissions, it will not follow suit.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi stuck to that position at an ASEAN security meeting in Manila.

"Global climate change is mostly a result of the long history of emissions and the current high per capita emissions of developed countries," he was quoted by spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying.

"Therefore, developed countries should continue to lead efforts to lower emissions after 2012, transfer technology to developing countries and promote sustainable development in developing countries," he added.

"Developing countries' historical greenhouse gas emissions have been low, and they are emissions for survival and development," Yang said.

Additional reporting by John Ruwitch in Manila.

China Lightning Kills Record 141
BBC News

Thursday 02 August 2007

Lightning killed almost 150 people last month across China, the highest number since records began in 2000, a state body has said.

According to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), 141 people died in lightning strikes in July.

China's top meteorological official blamed global warming for the extreme seasonal weather.

More than 700 people have died in floods in central China, while millions of others have been hit by drought.

"Extreme weather has incurred frequent natural disasters such as rainstorms, floods and droughts across the country this year," CMA chief Zheng Guoguang said on Wednesday.

Heatstroke Warning

In the latest incidents, about 50 people are feared dead in Shaanxi province in the north-west, following floods triggered by heavy rain, Xinhua news agency reported.

Twenty-three people have been confirmed dead and another 26 are missing, the agency said, citing local government officials.

Almost 40,000 people have been evacuated and power supplies have been cut in some areas.

Elsewhere in China, meteorologists issued their first heatstroke warning of the year.

Forecasters said temperatures in southern China and the western Xinjiang region could hit 40 degrees Celsius.

They urged residents to try to stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day.

The warning came as the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters warned that severe drought had left some 7.53 million people short of drinking water.

Hardest hit were the northern provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin, and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, while the southern provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were also affected.

Millions of hectares of arable land have been affected, the office said.

<-- Climate Shift

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