Chaoyang city in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, has suffered one of the worst droughts in 60 years, hitting more than 2 million hectares of farmland and affecting 3 million people. “Because of the drought, my crop… all withered,” farmer Song Boulin says, “I have three others to feed in my family, and, except for cabbages, we have nothing to eat.” Normally at this time of year, crops would be heaped on roofs and in courtyards, says Song, 56. “But this year, many villagers like me had no harvest because of the severe drought.”
In the last four years, global warming has been blamed for worsening droughts around Liaoning and throughout China. According to Xinhua, China has more than 24,800 natural lakes, but they are disappearing at a rate of about 20 per year.
Climate change has become the new threat for China’s abject poor, affecting an estimated 40 million people. Almost 95 percent of them live in climate endangered areas.
According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Progress Report 2009 of China’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change, China’s annual mean temperature has risen steadily for the past 12 years, reaching 9.6 degrees centigrade last year, 0.7 degrees higher than the previous year. As the temperature rises, droughts and sandstorms increase in frequency and scale
“In China, poverty-stricken places have low emissions of greenhouse gases, but they are affected most by the effects of climate change,” says Lin Erda, director of agriculture and climate change research center of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
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