Climate change said to threaten big projects

Climate change threatens some of China’s most important infrastructure projects, the country’s top meteorologist warned in a State newspaper, adding that the country’s rate of warming was higher than the global average.

Zheng Guoguang, head of China’s Meteorological Administration, told the weekly newspaper Study Times that the uptick in recent weather disasters such as floods, typhoons, droughts and heat waves had a “big connection” to climate change.

Such catastrophes are a threat to big-ticket projects such as the Three Gorges Dam and a high-altitude railway to Tibet, he said.

“Against the backdrop of global warming, the risks faced by our large engineering projects have increased,” Zheng told the newspaper for publication on Monday.

“Global warming affects the safety and stability of these big projects, as well as their operations and economic effectiveness, technological standards and engineering methods,” he added in the paper, published by the Central Party School, which trains rising officials.

China’s rate of warming was “at an obviously higher rate” than the global average, with the northern part of the country warming faster than the south and winters shorter than the summers, Zheng said.

“The first decade of this century was the hottest in the past 100 years,” he said.

Zheng said dealing with climate change is necessary for China to put its economy on a more sustainable growth path, something the country’s leadership has been working toward.

Coal accounts for about 60 per cent of China’s carbon dioxide emissions, which are causing massive health problems because of the smog they generate.

China, one of the world’s biggest emitters of climate-changing greenhouse gases, has sought to shift increasingly to cleaner-burning hydrocarbons such as natural gas and to renewable energy.

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