Zheng Guogang, the chief of China’s Meteorological Administration, has been quoted as saying: “As the world warms, risks of climate change and climate disasters to China could become more grave,” in a rare public announcement. He added that temperature increases on the mainland have been higher than global averages.

The principal issues are the effects of climate change on infrastructure and the agricultural sector, especially crop yields. For example, Zheng labelled climate change a “serious threat” to the Three Gorges Dam, the railway connecting Tibet with northwest China, and the challenge of transferring water from the south to the north of the country, which is already experiencing drought.

China has agreed that its emissions will peak in 2030, according to The Economist. At that time, non-fossil fuels should only make up 20 percent of China’s energy consumption, but according to the BBC China has not yet made a specific numerical target. Right now, its emissions are almost twice that of the US’, and the US and China contribute to about 45 percent of the worlds’ carbon dioxide emissions, the SCMP reports.

As always, there are concerns as to whether China is under-reporting emissions, thus skewing the figures. According to a report in 2012, China was understating its annual carbon emissions by as much as 1.4 billion tonnes a year at that time. With increasing international pressure this number can only be expected to rise.

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Photo: Xinhua

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