Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Which country is most vulnerable to climate change?

Climate change will affect whole planet but some countries will be more affected than others. For instance if sea levels are about to rise according to scientific predictions then Bangladesh could soon disappear under the sea, and the same destiny could await some richer countries, like for instance Netherlands. When we talk about world's most powerful countries then many scientists see China as the country most vulnerable to climate change.

China is currently world's biggest polluter heavily dependent upon fossil fuels, most notably coal to keep its economic growth up and running. Despite big investments in renewable energy sector like wind energy and hydropower China is likely to remain heavily dependent upon fossil fuels, for at least couple of decades. The Current situation that China is in is really a tricky one because Chinese are aware that they have to curb greenhouse gas emissions but they do not want to sacrifice their economic boom to do so.

However, Chinese should be also aware that climate change is very likely to have serious impact on whole of China. For instance sea levels rise and extreme weather events could cause major problems in South China, and the west of China is already experiencing what climate change can do; weather there is becoming more and more unpredictable, and glaciers are melting fast which could soon cause major flooding, and in the long run it will cause water shortage.

Many people look at China as one of world's major countries due to China's recent economic boom but it also has to be said that despite tremendous economic growth there are hundreds of millions of people in China earning less than $2 a day. So not all people in China have seen what economic success looks like.

It also has to be said that China despite looking extremely vulnerable to climate change still hasn't mentioned any short-term target for curbing greenhouse gas emissions; up to this point China has only promised to peak emissions by 2050 which is too late under all climate predictions.

Though China is doing significant efforts to go green like for instance heavily investing in different green technologies and working on a renewable energy target of 15% by 2020 this doesn't look to be enough to protect China from climate change. Coal, main energy source in China is likely to remain dominant for at least few more decades. Coal is not only cheap but the industries around the coal are massively powerful so pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are likely to increase in years to come, making China more and more vulnerable to climate change.

Coal powered industry is dominant in China.

1 comment:

  1. Climate change is an issue that needs considerable open mind and a courage to face realities. Development at the cost of ruining the ecosystem of the planet is the "business-as-usual" mindset. A paradigm shift is needed in the mindset of leaders of all major economies.

    US and Europe should come forward and show the world that they have the capacity to lead the world on the climate change issue also, particularly after leading the world from 280 ppm CO2 in 1750 to 388 ppm at present through their industries.