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Climate Changes Key to Sustainable Development
The influence of climatic changes on China's social and economic development has aroused heated discussion among more than 200 participants in the country's first climate conference, which opened in Beijing last Friday.

Li Peng, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said in his congratulatory message that China has made great achievements in climate studies by tracing the latest developments of global climate research.

Li called for more frequent international exchanges and cooperation in this respect, so as to provide a better service for the country's social and economic development as well as the people's everyday life.

Hu Qili, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told the conference that climate change has become one of the key factors affecting a country's sustainable development.

Hu said China's progress is now hindered mainly by three problems -- the rapidly expanding population, shortage of resources and environmental deterioration -- the settlement of which will all depend upon climate conditions.

Therefore, it is of great significance to get to know thoroughly the patterns of climate change in China and the surrounding areas, Hu said.

Qin Dahe, director of the China Meteorological Administration, said that China is now marching ahead rapidly in research into the climate and various climatic changes with the establishment of a comprehensive observation network covering the atmosphere, ocean and land.

China is able to offer predictions on the effects of the climate up to ten days, a month or even a year ahead. Experts can also give advance calculations of the spring and autumn grain outputs.

Modes of assessing the influence brought by climatic changes on agriculture, water resources, forests and grasslands, as well as the peoples' living environment and their health have also been established, Qin said.

Chinese experts have made an analysis of the present situation and future trend of the discharge and absorption of various gases leading to the greenhouse effect in China, said Qin.

According to him, global warming has become a sensitive issue in international diplomacy related to the environment.

The two-day conference will discuss the national climate program and the plan for China's climate observation system, which will outline the direction of the country's climate work for the next 10 years.

(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2002)

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