The Slatest

Top Chinese Official Says Climate Change Is “Serious Threat,” Could Have “Huge Impact”

Smog in the city of Wuhan.


China’s top meteorologist, Zheng Guogang, told the country’s Xinhua news service that global warming is a serious threat to the country that could have a number of adverse consequences— remarks that the BBC calls “rare admissions from a Chinese official.”

Mr Zheng warned of more droughts, rainstorms, and higher temperatures, which would threaten river flows and harvests, as well as major infrastructure projects such as the Three Gorges Dam. He urged China to pursue a lower-carbon future.

“To face the challenges from past and future climate change, we must respect nature and live in harmony with it,” the Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

China and the United States combine for almost half of the world’s carbon emissions; in November 2014 the two states came to a historic, if very long-term and nonbinding, agreement to mutually reduce their fossil fuel consumption. Both nations are expected to participate in a December climate conference in Paris that may produce a worldwide agreement similar to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. (Neither the U.S. nor China committed to the Kyoto-recommended reductions.)