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Regional survey on climate changeimpacts and adaptation

CANGO’s Climate Change Education Projectfor middle school students was launched in November 2012.One of the main activitiesunder this project includes thedevelopmentof China-specific teaching materials on climate change. Currently no comprehensive China-specific teaching materials on climate change exist in China. Some basic material has been produced by Chinese NGOs, and government agencies like the Centre for Environmental Education and Communication (CEEC) of Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has been cooperated with the Environmental Defense Fund to publish the translationsof foreign teaching materials.However, this is clearly insufficient to meet the needs for high-quality climate change education in China. The teaching materials to be developed through this project will be innovative and up-to-date, drawing on latest research on climate change and incorporate innovative teaching approaches. Topic areas covered by the materials will include among other issues renewable energy and energy system transition (moving away from coal), urbanization challenges and solutions, climate change impacts of agriculture, adaptation strategies & poverty reduction in rural areas, low-carbon transport in cities, energy efficiency in buildings, impacts on water & food security through climate change, climate change and green economy, the political dimensions of climate change (international negotiations), ethical issues (common but differentiated responsibilities) andintroduction to emissions trading.
In order to collect Chinese casestudieson climate change impacts and climate change adaptation, a regional survey with six regions has been conducted from May to August 2013. The six regions were selected according to the different climate change impacts and the geographical distribution. We focusedon one topic for each region, thedetails as below: biodiversity in Yunnan, glaciermelting in Qinghai, wetlands in Hubei, agriculture in Heilongjiang, water resource in Hebeiand sea level rise inGuangdong. The survey methods integrated field observation and stakeholder interviews.Thestakeholders included local government officials, local NGO staff, academics, middle school teachers and students. The survey team with 4 members included CANGO staff and partner organizations EnviroFriends and Roots and Shoots Beijing Office. A CCTVcameraman participated to shoot videos and record the survey to produce short educational videos to complement the written teaching materials.
The main results of the regional survey listed are below:
Yunan (Lijiang): The main impact of climate change to date are serious droughtsin spring and winter, which threatens local peoples’ drinking water availability, agriculturalproductionand the living conditions of local biological species. It was predicted by experts that large numbers of birds and aquatic species will be extinct if climate change continues and noadaptation andprotection measures are taken.
Qinghai (Xining and Qinghai Lake region): the main impact of climate change is warming of temperatures which have lead to glacier melting. This has resulted in increased precipitation,increased vegetation andthe flower seasonstarting ahead of schedule.
Hubei (Xiangyang): the main impact of climate change is increasing temperature, having decreased the areas of wetland, especially Lake Wetland, and biodiversity is threatened. The expert fromHubei Meteorological Bureau mentioned that for a temperature rise of3 ℃, a20% increase in precipitation would be necessary to compensate for the adverse warming effects on thewetland ecological system. However, the predicted precipitation changescannot compensate for temperature increases in Hubei.
Heilongjiang (Jiamusi): the main impact of climate change in northern China is warming, increasing incidences of extreme weather and decreasing precipitation. Rising temperaturewill likely bringmore plant diseases and insect pests, but at the same time, plant species and crop productioncan increase due to longer planting times.
Hebei (Shijiazhuang): the main impact of climate change is decreasing the precipitation in summer, increasing extreme weather events such as thunderstorms. In addition, water resource shortage is one serious problem for local people living and agriculture production. Acceleration of climate change will further decrease water availability.
Guangdong (Shenzhen):the main impacts of climate change are highertemperatures, increasing rainy weather, haze and lightning and urban heat island effects, whichhave already become obvious. In response, most local people are paying increased attention to the information and early warning systems of theShenzhen Meteorological Department.