Climate Change in China: Issues and Developments

Saule Akhmetkaliyeva

Abstract


China is a country with the fastest growing economy. On average, the GDP of the country grew by 10% annually in over a decade. Sadly, the price of such economic boom of China has become the environment of the country. Currently, the environmental situation in China is one of the most serious ones in the world and it is continuously deteriorating. For decades, China has been focused on the industrial development of the country without any regard to the environment. Such negligence has led some areas of the country to the brink of natural disaster. For instance, in the last 50 years, in China the annual average air temperature increased by 0.5-0.8 °C, which is higher than the global average. The country is already facing consequences of climate change such as droughts, rainstorms, high temperatures and changing weather patterns exacerbating smog and health impacts linked to it.  Nowadays, the ecology of the country is an issue not only for China itself, but for the entire region and even for the whole world. Only recently, China started showing awareness towards the environmental situation of the country. One of the main environmental concerns of China is the poor air quality. The main reason behind the air pollution of the country is the coal-fired power plants used for electricity generation. China is the largest coal producer and consumer in the world. In 2016, China was responsible for 28.21% of global carbon dioxide emissions, becoming the largest emitter in the world. Ironically, according to the National Energy Agency of China, in 2016, China was a leader among renewable energy producing countries in terms of electricity generation using solar energy. Moreover, the government of the country plans to boost the share of renewable energy sources to 20% and to invest $363.7 billion by 2020. China’s 13th five-year plan adopted in 2016 calls for action on environmental issues, the main one being quality of the air. Additionally, in order to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement, China has pledged to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions below the 2005th level by 2030. However, even though China has taken steps to tackle the poor ecological condition of the country caused by rapid industrialization, years of abuse of the environment will require to make some major changes in order to overcome the current disastrous situation. 


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