GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

China: The Impact of Climate Change to 2030


The National Intelligence Council sponsors workshops and research with nongovernmental experts to gain knowledge and insights and to sharpen debate on critical issues. The views expressed in this report do not reflect official US Government positions.

Executive Summary (excerpt)

China is well known for its size: it has the world’s largest population, the third largest land area, the fourth (nominal) or second (purchase power parity) largest economy and is the second largest primary energy producer and consumer and the largest carbon dioxide emitter.

As a major global player in human-caused climate change, China is vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change:

  • Over the past century (1908 to 2007), the average temperature in China has risen by 1.1 degree Celsius.
  • Although no significant trend was observed in nationally averaged precipitation amounts over the past 50 years, a drying trend was observed in the Yellow River Basin and North China Plain.
  • Over the past 30 years, the sea level and sea surface temperature have increased 90 millimeters (mm) and 0.9o C, respectively.
  • China has experienced more extreme events (floods, droughts, storms) in recent years than
    ever before. The extreme weather events have caused direct economic losses of $25 to 37.5
    billion in China per year.

One regional climate model projects a country-averaged annual mean temperature increase of 1.3-2.1°C by 2020 (2.3-3.3°C by 2050); another regional climate model projects a 1-1.6°C temperature increment and a 3.3-3.7 percent precipitation increase between 2011 and 2020, depending on the emissions scenario.

By 2030, sea level rise along coastal areas could be 0.01-0.16 meters, increasing the possibility of flooding and intensified storm surges, leading to degradation of wetlands, mangroves, and coral reefs. Agricultural growing seasons will lengthen and the risk of extreme heat episodes will increase. Storms may intensify, but warming temperatures are likely to enhance drying in already-dry areas, so both droughts and floods may increase.

Compared to other countries, China ranks lower in resilience to climate change than Brazil, Turkey, and Mexico, but higher than India. China ranks high in food security, human health, and human resources. Projections of resilience show China gaining capacity quickly and outranking Brazil, Turkey, and Mexico by 2020.

This Paper does not Represent US Government Views .