Wednesday, August 26, 2009

China says, that Tibet is warming, and its time to do something about it

The Chinese government seems to be putting greater and greater emphasis on both the effects of climate change and how to mitigate it. Two articles from China Daily within the last week point to the new emphasis that the Chinese government is placing on this issue.

First, an August 18 article about the Tibeten Plateau says that Warming of Plateau is 'threatening all Asia'. The article goes on to detail how much Tibet has warmed, and that Tibet is warmer, on average than it has been for 2,000 years.

"The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is among the regions worst hit by global warming,"
said Qin Dahe, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). "In turn, this will
have a deleterious effect on the global climate and also the livelihood of Asian
As the source of many of Asia's largest rivers, including the Yellow and Yangtze in China, warming, along with a retreat of the glaciers, poses a significant danger to water supplies throughout East and South Asia.

Secondly, and article, Climate change law to bring teeth to emissions mandates, from today (August 26), reports that the National Peoples' Congress has placed climate change on the legislative agenda. The key phrase in this article is: "China will have "legally binding actions" to fight the illegal emissions." Though the quote is from a leader of an NGO, not from the Chinese government, the fact that anyone in China is talking about 'legally binding' anything regarding climate change is a major change in policy. Does this mean a mandatory cap on emissions? Probably not in the short-term, but perhaps in the longer term.

It is important that these articles come from China Daily, because this newspaper is widely seen as the English-language mouthpiece of the central government. Several articles recently have pointed out that China may be moving ahead of the US on climate action, and these articles show that new focus.

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