While the American president doesn’t discuss it, and the candidates vying to replace him swear it doesn’t exist, scientists working for, and under the supervision of, the government of China are warning their people in an official report that “China faces extremely grim ecological and environmental conditions under the impact of continued global warming.” This is the judgment of the “Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change” released for public consumption this week.
Ironies abound. Here is a totalitarian government, unfettered by political opposition, a free press, special-interest groups or free elections, that has abandoned the principles under which it came to power — the tenets of communism — in favor of rampant, unfettered profiteering more akin to fascism, and that is now acknowledging that its industrial excesses may well destroy its people.
Meanwhile the United States, a country that prides itself on its education system, its free press, informed electorate and free elections, has a government that acts and speaks as if there were no such thing as climate change (has anybody seen any national assessment of its progress and effects?), and the candidates to lead that government act and speak as if there were no such thing as science (“That’s not pollution, son, that’s job creation.”).
In stark contrast, the Chinese government report says flatly that global warming caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from industry, transportation and land development threatens China’s prosperity, health and food supply. Among its major points:
- Climate change will lead to severe imbalances in China’s water resources within each year and across the years. By 2050, eight of mainland China’s provinces and cities could face severe water shortages.
- In low-lying coastal regions, rising seas will inundate the very cities, ports and export zones that have been central to China’s industrialization. Efforts thus far to protect vulnerable coastal areas with embankments are inadequate.
- In the northwest cotton-growing region of Xinjiang, water scarcity could lead to a “marked decline in agricultural crop productivity,”.while in the north and southwest, drought will reduce winter-wheat and corn harvests unless irrigation and fertilizer application are drastically increased. “Future climate warming will therefore increase the costs of agriculture.”
Of course the report stops short of predicting catastrophe (you don’t want to panic 1.3 billion people all at once), and well short of acknowledging that China, as the world’s largest and fastest-growing polluter, bears primary responsibility for the grave effects it is now officially predicting. It also shies from defining any of the wracking, disruptive things that would have to be done to avoid the dark future that it sees.
Still, it is remarkable that the “Communist” puppet-masters have shared with their people more information about the consequences of rapacious industrialism than has the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
[See also “China: World Leader in Self Destruction.” For updates on this and other Daily Impact stories, and for short takes on other subjects, check out The Editor’s Log.]