Sunday, January 22, 2012

Probably not to get...  

US government grants, anyway. If there is a non-scientific reason why the Chinese climatological community is sounding the alarm about global warming, I haven't seen it. The usual accusations applied to our own scientists don't seem to work, however.

Anyway, the latest Chinese assessment of the impact of climate change sounds familiar, if not more urgent.
Both drought and flooding are already major issues in China. The report predicts an increasing concentration of rain during the summer and autumn months, overwhelming rivers in the south; and long dry winters, which will be especially crippling for those living in China’s parched northwestern provinces.
Rising sea levels will also make coastal areas more vulnerable to flooding from typhoons and flood tides, defenses for which are currently “inadequate,” says the report. This is of particular concern, as such coastal areas are home to the major cities and Special Economic Zones at the center of China’s rapid industrialization. Shanghai is expected to see an increase of 10 to 15 centimeters in its coastal waters over the next three decades; it has already risen by 11.5 centimeters in the previous three.
With global warming will come changes to the pattern of the seasons and thus the realignment of China’s agricultural map. A warmer, wetter northeast will sustain more rice and other crops, while the cotton-growing region of Xinjiang in the northwest could suffer a decline in agricultural output. [More]
Another article on this report helpfully mentions a little more detail about ag:
Under one scenario of how global warming will affect water availability, by 2050 eight of mainland China's 31 provinces and provincial-status cities could face severe water shortages -- meaning less than 500 cubic metres per resident -- and another 10 could face less dire chronic shortages.
In low-lying coastal regions, rising seas will press up against big cities and export zones that have stood at the forefront of China's industrialisation.
China's efforts to protect vulnerable coastal areas with embankments are inadequate, says the report, noting their vulnerability to typhoons and flood tides that global warming could intensify.
There are sure to be shifts in Chinese crop patterns as well, says the report. More rice and other crops will probably grow in the northeast, thanks to warmer weather and possibly more rain. In the northwest cotton-growing region of Xinjiang, shrinking water availability could lead to a "marked decline in agricultural crop productivity". [More]
I think the steadily growing body of evidence will slowly (as in decades) overcome ideological opposition to the overwhelming scientific consensus here in the US and as we see  above, around the globe. It will simply never be acknowledged.

That is an OK outcome, IMHO. It matters less, for example whether farmers stop railing against government or scientific leaders than if they install tile, revise planting dates and change maturities, or even crops. They can even claim alternative reasons such as merely cyclical patterns. But I am doubtful this will be the rule for those who succeed us. This is how public opinion changes now. 

It is rebuilt mind by mind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A changing attitude lies with the younger generation because over time they will see more clearly the consequences. Some of the older crowd will not change no matter what but they will inevitably die off. Some minds simply cannot be changed but death and generational turnover provides the necessary solution. This is how paradigm shifts have operated for generations.