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Climate Changes Challenge China's Farming
Global climate change will have a heavy impact on China's agricultural production, according to the latest research findings.

"If we do not take urgent measures, crop yields in China may decrease by 5 to 10 percent in the coming 30 years," Lin Erda, head of a climate and agriculture research team, told China Daily yesterday.

About 10 percent of China's farmland is going to vanish because of global warming, said Lin, quoting from research findings of a group of scientists from China and the United Kingdom who are studying the impact of climate change on China's agriculture.

In addition to decreases and fluctuations in crop yields, there will be changes in the disposition of China's agricultural lands and possible increases in investment in the sector, Lin said.

Lin, president of the Agro-meteorology Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, is acting head of the UK-China climate project, which was launched in 2001.

Lin made his comments prior to the wrap-up of a two-day UK-China workshop on the impact of climate change on agriculture yesterday in Beijing.

Li Xueyong, vice-minister of science and technology, said yesterday at the workshop that the Chinese government has effectively curbed emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide by controlling population growth, improving energy efficiency and expanding afforestation work.

"Today's workshop is evidence that we are working hard to settle the world problem through international cooperation," said Li, whose ministry has poured a lot of energy into climate change research.

Scientists from the ministry are conducting basic research on climate change theory, technology and methods to slow down climate change and national strategies, policies and actions.

Official statistics indicate that between 1998 and 2002, China earmarked a total of 580 billion yuan (US$70 billion) for environmental protection, accounting for 1.29 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) for the period.

The cooperation between China and the UK in climate change work has been applauded by the visiting UK Vice-Minister of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Dennis Macshane.

"The workshop is an important step for us following the World Summit on Sustainable Development (which was recently held in South Africa's Johannesburg)," he said at the workshop. China and UK have both approved the Kyoto Protocol, showing their willingness to join hands with other countries to combat environmental degradation, he added.

(China Daily September 13, 2002)

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Ministry of Science and Technology
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