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Dire warnings from China's first climate change report
BEIJING, Dec 27 (AFP) Dec 27, 2006
Temperatures in China will rise significantly in coming decades and water shortages will worsen, state media said Wednesday, citing the government's first national assessment of global climate change.

"Greenhouse gases released due to human activity are leading to ever more serious problems in terms of climate change," the Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement.

"Global climate change has an impact on the nation's ability to develop further," said the ministry, one of 12 government departments that prepared the report.

Compared with 2000, the annual average temperature in China will rise by as much as 3.3 degrees Celsius by 2050, the China News Service reported, citing the assessment.

By 2100, average temperatures could soar by as much as six degrees Celsius, according to the news service.

In just over a decade, global warming will start to be felt in the world's most populous country, as average temperatures will increase by between 1.3 and 2.1 degrees Celsius by 2020.

Precipitation will also increase drastically in the coming decades, rising by up to 17 percent by 2100, according to the news service.

But this will bring little or no relief to China's frequently drought-stricken farmers.

The report notes that although parched north China is expected to have more rain, water shortages will increase because of faster evaporation caused by higher temperatures, according to Xinhua.

Drought, heat waves and other extreme weather will also hit China more often, according to the report.

Few aspects of human endeavor in China will be immune to the devastating effects of global warming, the report suggested.

Even a railway that opened this year linking remote Tibet to provinces further east will be affected.

This is because part of the rail is built on top of subsoil that maintains sub-zero temperatures throughout the year but may start to thaw due to hotter weater, "threatening the safety of railway operations," the news service said.

"The report will serve as the country's scientific and technical reference in policy making and international cooperation," said Li Xueyong, vice minister of the science ministry, according to the China Daily.

"It also shows China's attention to the global issue and its resolve to work together with the international community."

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