Top Chinese official says climate change is a fact | Connect Asia

Top Chinese official says climate change is a fact

Top Chinese official says climate change is a fact

Updated 18 January 2012, 18:30 AEDT

Despite facing a massive pollution problem, China has been relatively quiet in making statements about climate change.

But overnight a deputy director of China's most powerful economic minnistry has come out swinging against climate change denial. Senior Chinese government figures have described the view that climate change is not man-made as an "extreme" stance which is out of step with mainstream thought. The comments were made during China's annual sitting of the National People's Congress.

Presenter: Stephen McDonell.

Xie Zhenhua, deputy director, National Development and Reform Commission

STEPHEN MCDONELL: During the National People's Congress a series of press conferences are held which, in many cases, are the only chance to put questions to members of China's power elite.

Last night one such press conference was held on the subject of climate change.

(Sound of officials talking in Chinese)

I asked the panel what they thought of the view that climate change had nothing to do with human activity and was in fact a natural phenomenon.

Xie Zhenhua is a deputy director at China's power economic ministry, the National Development and Reform Commission.

Deputy director Xie answered that he believed that manmade climate change denial is, at best, a very marginal view.

XIE ZHENHUA (translated): Climate change is a fact based on long-time observations by countries around the world. The mainstream view is that climate change is caused by burning of fossil fuel in the course of industrialisation. And there's a more extreme view which holds that human activity has only an imperceptible impact on the natural system.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: He said that the responsibility for this climate change rests squarely with the Western world, so the onus is on it to clean up the mess caused in the rush to industrialisation.

XIE ZHENHUA (translated): There's now more flooding in the south of China and increasing shortages of water in the north. Forests and grasslands are being eroded and there are more typhoons and storm surges along our coast. So if you look ahead to the long term climate change may have a huge impact on China's food security and the life and property of our people.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: The chairman of the Congress Environmental and Resources Protection Committee, Wang Guangtao, also spoke.

He acknowledged that there are some experts who believe that the current statistics on climate change are not reliable enough. But he said that this merely meant that more work needed to be done on the minutia of the statistics.

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