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Help Needed to Prepare for Climate Change
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As developing countries become more vulnerable to climate change, China yesterday urged developed nations to speed up the transfer of resources in order to mitigate the impact.


In its latest assessment report released on Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that poor communities and developing countries are particularly vulnerable to climate change.


"I would like to appeal to developed countries to accelerate their funding for adaptation research and speed up the transfer of adaptation technology and cooperate with developing countries in working out solutions," Yang Xiongnian, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, said yesterday.


This will help developing nations better prepare for climate change and promote global sustainable development, he told the Asian Regional Workshop on Adaptation, sponsored by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Beijing.


Yang's remarks echoed the latest call of the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer.


"Our current sources of funding are insufficient to cover these adaptation needs," de Boer said on Friday. "So the international community needs to investigate new and innovative sources of finance in order to ensure that the most vulnerable communities are able to cope."


The three-day meeting of experts is expected to identify specific needs and concerns in Asia where scientists predict a significant warming acceleration in the 21st century.


In China the trend will have a "mostly negative" impact and it will continue to wreck havoc in the country's ecosystems and on social and economic growth, Yang, the deputy chief of the ministry's Department of Science, Technology and Education, said.


For example, experts predict that crops in the plains of North and Northeast China could face water-related challenges in coming decades due to increases in water demands and soil-moisture deficits, according to documents released at the workshop.


According to one report released last year, the country's grain yield will be cut by 5 to 10 percent due to climate change.


"The reduction is equal to the annual grain productions of central China's Hunan and Hubei provinces which are China's key crop-yield region," Li Yan, campaigner of Climate and Energy from Greenpeace Beijing office, said.


In addition to launching rainwater harvesting projects, China has pooled at least 20 billion yuan (US$2.56 billion) since 1998 to develop irrigation projects across the country, Yang said.


The country has also tried to take advantage of climate change by implementing a northward shift of agricultural zones.


China's double planting regions have shifted northward by three-degree latitude while the boundaries of wheat and corn have expanded, according to ministry sources.


Ambassador Bagher Asadi, chair of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation of UNFCCC, said yesterday that the meeting with representatives from 30 countries and regions should lead to practical recommendations on how the international community could respond to adaptation gaps and needs in Asia.


(China Daily April 12, 2007)

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