China says coal addiction makes climate change fight hard

China warned Wednesday its heavy dependence on coal to fuel its fast-growing economy made it difficult to control greenhouse gas emissions, but said fighting global warming remained imperative.

by Robert J. Saiget, AFP

Releasing a policy paper on climate change, the Chinese government acknowledged the deep impact global warming had already made on the world’s most populous nation — and warned of much worse to come.

Cyclists passes through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, ... 
Cyclists passes through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, 2006. China warned its heavy dependence on coal to fuel its fast-growing economy made it difficult to control greenhouse gas emissions, but said fighting global warming remained imperative.(AFP/File/Peter Parks)

“Extreme climate phenomena, such as high temperatures, heavy precipitation and severe droughts, have increased in frequency and intensity,” the so-called “White Paper” said.

If not alleviated, these phenomena will increase natural disasters, reduce grain yields and impact livestock raising, hampering the nation’s efforts to feed its 1.3 billion people, it said.

According to the paper, China experienced 21 warm winters from 1986 to 2007, the latter being the warmest 12 months since detailed records began in 1951.

But coal, the cheapest and most plentiful source of fuel in China, will remain the nation’s major energy source.

“(The) coal-dominated energy mix cannot be substantially changed in the near future, thus making the control of greenhouse gas emissions rather difficult,” the paper said.

China is dependent on coal for about two thirds of its energy use, which has caused it to rise quickly in recent years as a major emitter of greenhouse gases.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081029/sc_afp/
chinaenergyenvironmentclimate_081029131552

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