Saturday, November 1, 2008

Chinese food production is vulnerable to climate change, report says

7th Space Interactive: Climate change will present a major challenge to China in feeding its growing population by the middle of the century. This is a key message from a three-year bilateral project between the UK and China.

Minister Joan Ruddock of the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The impacts of climate change will be felt across the globe and will hit many developing countries the hardest. This study shows the potentially serious impacts climate change will have on food production. It underlines just how urgent it is for all countries to join the fight to tackle dangerous climate change by reducing emissions and securing a global deal in Copenhagen in 2009. It also emphasises just how vital it is for all countries to develop regionally specific strategies that will help communities and countries adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change.

…The project has examined how one area of China, Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, could adapt agricultural techniques to deal with the impact of climate change. Vulnerable farmers are already having to develop new methods to adapt to these long-term changes in the weather, such as reducing water loss by covering the soil with stones, and planting new crop varieties.

The study found that the three main climate risks for Ningxia are droughts and other extreme weather events, increasing temperatures leading to drier soils, and shifts in the flow regime of the Yellow River (the main water source).

The report also predicts that as a result of climate change alone, China is likely to see a reduction in yields of key crops (wheat, maize, and rice) from the 2020s. As the population increases, availability of staple foods may fall below the critical level necessary for people's basic needs. However, it also notes that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the air, which helps plants to grow and, improvements in farming techniques may help boost yields but that whether this can significantly reduce the effects of climate change is very uncertain....

Map showing the location of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China

1 comment:

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