The authorities will introduce an ambitious program to combat
climate change at the provincial level, with financial and
technological support from the United Nations and Norway.
"It is the first time that the country will launch a pilot
program to encourage local governments to face the issue and take
practical measures," Shen Yiyang, an expert from the United Nations
Development Program (UNDP) who is working on the project, said.
Shen said the project will cover provinces and autonomous
regions that are sensitive to climate change, such as Qinghai, Tibet and Ningxia, as well as fossil-fuel-intensive
provinces and autonomous regions like Shanxi, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia and Hebei.
Under the project, the National Development and Reform
Commission (NDRC) and UNDP will set up a diagnosis system for each
pilot province or autonomous region to analyze the effects of
climate change as well as opportunities for mitigation.
And it is expected that efforts to adapt to climate change could
eventually be included into local development plans in pilot areas,
"At present, few people in China are fully aware of the severe
problems caused by climate change, let alone the need to map out
long-term contingency plans, monitor greenhouse gas emissions or
collect related information," Shen said.
For example, on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where glaciers are
melting because of the rising temperatures, river runoff has
increased, posing a threat to the country's water supply.
"But few people realize the potentially disastrous results of
such a situation, which holds consequences not only for regions of
western China, but also for downstream communities along the
Yangtze and Yellow rivers," Shen said.
Both the NDRC and UNDP expect the project to be expanded to all
provinces and regions to help the country better adapt to global
warming while mitigating the effect of climate change.
Another outcome expected from the project is helping
poverty-stricken people in western China, where the environment is
fragile, to improve their lives.
"These people are suffering the most from climate change and
environmental degradation," Shen said.
The UNDP will abide by its rule of connecting climate change to
local development, he said.
The project has pooled US$2 million from Norway and US$400,000
from the UNDP. The UNDP hopes to attract more money from other
sources for pilot projects in areas other than those involved in
the pilot provinces.
(China Daily April 18, 2007)