Chapter 5: Assessing climate change impacts and adaptation strategies in China
Throughout the world, communities are struggling to build and maintain resilience to extreme weather events, drought, sea level rise and other impacts of climate change. China is one of many countries around the world beginning to develop national-level policy targeting adaptation to climate change. Because provinces vary in terms of vulnerability, degree of impact and other factors, solutions are appearing at the sub-national level as well. The way in which climate change affects China is influenced by the country's size, geography and resource endowments, as well as by such factors as its reliance on trade and political relationships with its neighbors (Lewis 2009, 2011b). In China, rapid economic growth has come at a cost to both the local and global environment (Lewis and Gallagher 2010). As the impacts of rising global greenhouse emissions are more comprehensively understood, it is becoming increasingly evident that climate change will exacerbate many of the country's existing environmental problems, such as deteriorating water quality, water scarcity, air pollution, land degradation and desertification. This chapter reviews the observed and predicted impacts China is likely to face due to climate change, focusing on observed physical and predicted impacts on water resources and agricultural systems, impacts facing coastal economic centers and impacts that threaten public health and national security.
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