CHRONICLES OF OUR GENERATION

CHRONICLES OF OUR GENERATION

Monday, August 26, 2013

Economies of the future - Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam , Russia, China - most at risk from climate change

Maplecroft - Climate Change Risk Atlas 2011
A new global ranking, calculating the vulnerability of 170 countries to the impacts of climate change over the next 30 years, identifies some of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies, including India, as facing the greatest risks to their populations, ecosystems and business environments. 
The new Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI), released by global risks advisory firm Maplecroft, enables organisations to identify areas of risk within their operations, supply chains and investments. It evaluates 42 social, economic and environmental factors to assess national vulnerabilities across three core areas. These include: exposure to climate-related natural disasters and sea-level rise; human sensitivity, in terms of population patterns, development, natural resources, agricultural dependency and conflicts; thirdly, the index assesses future vulnerability by considering the adaptive capacity of a country’s government and infrastructure to combat climate change.
The index rates 16 countries as ‘extreme risk,’ including nations that represent new Asian economic power and possess significant forecasted growth. Bangladesh (1), India (2), Philippines (6), Vietnam (13) and Pakistan (16) all feature in the highest risk category and are of particular importance as they are major contributors to the ongoing global economic recovery and are vital to the future expansion of Western businesses in particular. 
“These countries are attracting high levels of foreign investment from many multinational organisations,” said Principal Environmental Analyst at Maplecroft, Dr Matthew Bunce. “However, over the next 30 years their vulnerability to climate change will rise due to increases in air temperature, precipitation and humidity. This means organisations with operations or assets in these countries will become more exposed to associated risks, such as climate-related natural disasters, resource security and conflict. Understanding climate vulnerability will help companies make their investments more resilient to unexpected change.”
Other countries featuring in the ‘extreme risk’ category include: Madagascar (3), Nepal (4), Mozambique (5), Haiti (7), Afghanistan (8), Zimbabwe (9), Myanmar (10), Ethiopia (11), Cambodia (12), Thailand (14) and Malawi (15). According to Maplecroft, the countries with the most risk are characterised by high levels of poverty, dense populations, exposure to climate-related events; and their reliance on flood and drought prone agricultural land. Africa features strongly in this group, with the continent home to 12 out of the 25 countries most at risk.
Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2011
Maplecroft - Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2011
Throughout 2010, changes in weather patterns have resulted in a series of devastating natural disasters, especially in South Asia, where heavy floods in Pakistan affected more than 20 million people (over 10% of the total population) and killed more than 1,700 people. “There is growing evidence climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of climatic events,” said Environmental Analyst at Maplecroft, Dr Anna Moss. “Very minor changes to temperature can have major impacts on the human environment, including changes to water availability and crop productivity, the loss of land due to sea level rise and the spread of disease.”
Maplecroft rates Bangladesh as the country most at risk due to extreme levels of poverty and a high dependency on agriculture, whilst its government has the lowest capacity of all countries to adapt to predicted changes in the climate. In addition, Bangladesh has a high risk of drought and the highest risk of flooding. This is illustrated during October 2010, when 500,000 people were driven from their homes by flood waters created by storms. However, despite the country’s plethora of problems, the Bangladesh economy grew 88% between 2000 and 2008 and is forecast to by the IMF to grow 5.4% over 2010 and up to 6.2% over the next five years.
India, ranked 2nd, is already one of the world’s power brokers, but climate vulnerability could still adversely affect the country’s appeal as a destination for foreign investment in coming decades. Vulnerability to climate-related events was seen in the build up to the Commonwealth Games, where heavy rains affected the progress of construction of the stadium and athletes’ village. Almost the whole of India has a high or extreme degree of sensitivity to climate change, due to acute population pressure and a consequential strain on natural resources. This is compounded by a high degree of poverty, poor general health and the agricultural dependency of much of the populace.
There are 11 countries considered ‘low risk’ in the index, with Norway (170), Finland (169), Iceland (168), Ireland (167), Sweden (166) and Denmark (165) performing the best. However, Russia (117), USA (129), Germany (131), France (133) and the UK (138) are all rated as ‘medium risk’ countries, whilst China (49), Brazil (81) and Japan (86) feature in the ‘high risk’ category.
The Climate Change Vulnerability Index is the central component of Maplecroft’s Climate Change Risk Atlas 2011, which also evaluates the risks to business relating to emissions, unsustainable energy use, regulation and climate change vulnerability. The index is also visually represented in an interactive, GIS derived “hotspots” sub-national map, which analyses climate change vulnerability risks down to a 25km² scale worldwide.
Legend
Extreme risk
High risk
Medium risk
Low risk
No Data
Rank
Country
Rating

1
Bangladesh
Extreme

2
India
Extreme

3
Madagascar
Extreme

4
Nepal
Extreme

5
Mozambique
Extreme

Rank
Country
Rating

6
Philippines
Extreme

7
Haiti
Extreme

8
Afghanistan
Extreme

9
Zimbabwe
Extreme

10
Myanmar
Extreme

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  • HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – In a region where governments are swollen with foreign currency reserves and inflation remains relatively tame, Vietnam is an island of economic instability.

    The country’s economy is still growing at 7 percent a year, but double-digit price increases for food and other essentials are punishing the working class and contributed to a top credit rating agency’s recent decision to downgrade the country’s sovereign debt. Vietnam’s currency is consistently falling below the official exchange rates, creating a thriving black market for gold and dollars. And one of the country’s largest state-owned companies is all but insolvent, brought down by debts that are the equivalent of more than 4 percent of the country’s total output.

    Hammer and sickle flags are still flying here as Ho Chi Minh City, the seemingly irrepressible bastion of Vietnamese capitalism, closes the Communist Party’s National Congress, an event held every five years to chart the course of a country that has witnessed an economic miracle in recent decades.

    “We are on the edge; there’s not a lot of room for mistakes,” said Le Anh Tuan, head of research at Dragon Capital, an investment company here. “The Vietnam story will depend much on how much the government understands the root of the problem and can fix it.”

    The problems, say many businesspeople and economists, are rooted in Vietnam’s continued heavy reliance on state-run companies despite the country’s opening to more private enterprise, which has expanded rapidly and profitably. For years the government considered its vast network of state-run companies as the vanguard of the economy, large conglomerates that the Communist Party could use to steer the country toward prosperity.

    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

    1

    A view of a slum neighborhood along the railroad tracks in Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 8, 2011. In a region where governments are swollen with foreign currency reserves and inflation remains relatively tame, Vietnam is an island of economic instability that is punishing the working class. (Justin Mott/The New York Times) #

     

    The Effects of Climate Change are the Greatest Threat to Humanity

    Suffering the Science – Climate Change, People and Poverty, argues that the effects of climate change pose the greatest threat to humanity. 

    Flooding in the Philippines

    Flooding in the Philippines

    The report combines the latest scientific observations on climate change, and evidence from Oxfam’s work in almost 100 countries around the world.

    "women living in poverty

    Mother and children on the streets of Bangladesh.

    “Women living in poverty, who already face a daily struggle to survive, are being hit the hardest,” – Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada.

    Flooding in the Philippines

    Flooding in the Philippines

    A survey of top climate scientists, also published by Oxfam, said poor people living in low-lying coastal areas, island atolls and mega deltas and farmers are most at risk from climate change because of flooding and prolonged drought. The scientists named South Asia and Africa as climate change hotspots.

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

    27

    Filipinos help to lift a boy up onto the roof of a building to escape floodwaters brought by Tropical Storm Ketsana in the Quezon City suburban of Manila on September 26, 2009. At least nine people were reported dead or missing in massive floods in the Philippine capital as a tropical storm lashed the eastern side of the country, radio reports said. AFP PHOTO/JAY DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images) #

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

    28

    An aerial picture shows residents moving through a flooded car park after heavy rain brought by tropical storm Ketsana in Marikina City, east of the Philippine capital Manila on September 27, 2009. At least 51 people were killed and more than a quarter of a million displaced after tropical storm Ketsana dumped the heaviest rainfall on capital Manila in more than four decades, officials said. Manila and surrounding areas were lashed with heavy rains for nine hours, leading to flash floods that inundated about 80 percent of the capital of more than 12 million inhabitants. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images) #

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

    29

    A child sleeps at a schoolhouse turned into a makeshift evacuation centre in Cantas Town on the outskirts of Manila on September 29, 2009. Philippine flood survivors crowded into the presidential palace, gymnasiums and hundreds of other makeshift evacuation centres as the death toll from the disaster soared to 240. AFP PHOTO / MIKE CLARKE (Photo credit should read MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images) #

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

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    TOPSHOTS Residents wade through a flooded street in the town of Binan, Laguna province, south of Manila on September 30, 2009. Terrified Philippine flood survivors fled their homes on September 30 amid warnings that a looming typhoon may add to the devastation of a killer storm that affected over 2.2 million people. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images) #

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

    31

    A woman walks by flood water during rain in Hoi An, Vietnam, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009 after Typhoon Ketsana passed. Flooding from the typhoon killed over 200 people in the Philippines, inundating the homes of nearly 2.3 million people over the weekend before slamming into Vietnam's central coast Tuesday. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki) #

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

    32

    A Vietnamese villager gets in a bamboo boat with boxes of provisions for his flood-hit famil at Dien Nam commune, in the central province of Quang Nam, following heavy rain brought by typhoon Ketsana on September 30, 2009. Stranded and soaked Vietnamese were marooned on rooftops waiting to be rescued as aid workers admitted the scale of the flooding after Typhoon Ketsana was proving too much. The typhoon killed 55 people and left 11 missing when it carrered into central Vietnam on September 29 after leaving 246 dead in the Philippines, where it struck days before as a weaker tropical storm. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images) #

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

    33

    Two Vietnamese girls sit in a bamboo boat next to their flooded home at Dien Nam commune, in the central province of Quang Nam, following heavy rain brought by typhoon Ketsana on September 30, 2009. Stranded and soaked Vietnamese were marooned on rooftops waiting to be rescued as aid workers admitted the scale of the flooding after Typhoon Ketsana was proving too much. The typhoon killed 55 people and left 11 missing when it carrered into central Vietnam on September 29 after leaving 246 dead in the Philippines, where it struck days before as a weaker tropical storm. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images) #

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

    34

    A boy sits on a water buffalo next to flooded houses at a village in the central province of Quang Tri as Typhoon Ketsana passes through central Vietnam on September 29, 2009. Typhoon Ketsana killed at least 22 people in Vietnam when it slammed into the country after wreaking devastation in the Philippines three days previously. AFP PHOTO / HOANG DINH Nam (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images) #

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

    35

    Residents navigate by boats on a flooded street following the passage of the Typhoon Ketsana in the tourist town of Hoi An in central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam on September 30, 2009. The death toll from Typhoon Ketsana in Vietnam rose to 38 after 246 died when the storm struck the Philippines over the weekend. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images) #

    Captured Blog: Typhoon Ketsana

    36

    Filipino flood survivors reach out for relief

    Drought in Tanzania

    Drought in Tanzania

    Growing rice in the Philippines

    Growing rice in the Philippines

    More people on the planet depend on rice than on any other crop. Rice plants react very quickly to temperature change: they show a 10% drop in yield for every 1ºC rise in minimum temperature. In parts of the Philippines, farmers have had to stop growing rice completely during the droughts caused by the ‘El Nino’ years, and river delta and coastal rice production has already suffered badly accross South-East Asia because of storms that overwhelm sea defences and salt-water intrusion into paddy fields.

    Eating rice in the Philippines.

    Eating rice and fish in the Philippines.

    An Asian Development Bank report warns that rice production in the Philippines could drop by 50-70 per cent as early as 2020.

    Fisherman in Tanzania

    Fisherman in Tanzania

    Crops are only one part of the food story. Fish stocks are also endangered by climate change — threatening the loss of a significant source of protein and income for the 2.6billion people who get 20 per cent of their protein from fish. In many countries, dependence on fish consumption increases with poverty. In addition, 500 million people in developing countries depend — directly or indirectly — on fisheries for their livelihoods.

    Fisherman in the Philippines

    Fisherman in the Philippines

    Both wild and farmed fish are threatened by a whole range of climate-driven problems — from raised sea levels and floods that damage fish farms on coasts and in river areas, to the increasin acidification of the oceans as a result of GHG emissions. A recent study suggests that 90 per cent of the food resources of the ‘coral triangle’ of the western Pacific will be gone by 2050, potentially affecting 150million people.

    Health problems in Tanzania

    Health problems in Tanzania

    In the last few months, several bodies including the Commonwealth countries’ health ministers have concluded that climate change is the greatest threat to health globally this century. The poorest and hottest countries will suffer the most. The loss of healthy life years as a result of global environmental change is predicted to be 500 times greater amongst poor African populations than amongst European populations. Climate change-driven alterations in patterns of disease and illness are already occurring globally, and 99 per cent of the casualties of climate change now are in developing countries.

    Urban slums in Bangladesh

    Urban slums in Bangladesh

    Rapid urbanization — which can be spurred by climatic factors as people seek new livelihoods in cities — brings disease with it. Urban sprawls often lack health infrastructure, and migrant workers may not be able to afford care and medicine. Some of the worst health statistics emanate from cities.

    Escaping the heat in Tanzania

    Escaping the heat in Tanzania

    Small increases in temperatures hit human beings hard. None of us, no matter how well acclimatised, can do heavy work effectively above 35ºC or so. A couple of degrees higher than that, and our bodies soon get exhausted. Once core body temperature passes 38ºC, heat stress may set in. The body tries to cool down by sweating; dehydration may follow. People’s work rate slows. Ultimately, production and incomes decline.

    Rice farmer in Bangladesh.

    Rice farmer in Bangladesh.

    “Working under the open sky during summer has become nearly impossible in the past four years or so — for farmers and their cattle alike.”  — Mir Ahmed, Bangladeshi farmer.

    Getting water in Tanzania

    Getting water in Tanzania

    Finding and transporting clean water is a central occupation in the working day of many people in developing countries, especially women. When a community is short of food, or suffering an outbreak of desease, there are immediate ways in which they can be helped. However, scarcity of water is a much greater problem. According to the UN Development Programme, over one billion people lack access to safe water today, and that number can only increase.

    2009 is one of the most important years in human history. In Copenhagen in December, politicians will meet at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Climate Change Convention. This meeting will decide whether we face a future on a hot glowering planet, or whether we set a course for climate safety for everyone.

    Who will feed the world?

    It should be noted that hunger and malnutrition are due not so much to the unavailability of food as to the inability of the poorest members of society to access it at an affordable price. Feeding the world by 2030 requires on the one hand efforts to increase food production and therefore food availability, and on the other measures to ensure that the poorest and most marginalised sectors of society have the purchasing power to access what food there is available.

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    The climate changes, threatens and demands adaptation

    Over the last four decades Cuba has made important progress in developing policies and practices for emergency preparedness and response,especially for disasters provoked by hurricanes. This effort has been the result of a combination of directives and priorities identified by the central government, along with initiatives from the population itself.

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    Haiti: From relief to recovery

    The humanitarian response that has taken place over the past 12 months has saved countless lives by providing water, sanitation, shelter, food aid, and other vital assistance to millions of people. Yet, as Haiti approaches the first anniversary of the earthquake, neither the Haitian state nor the international community is making significant progress in reconstruction.

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    Haiti Progress Report 2010

    Oxfam was one of the first agencies to respond to the earthquake in Haiti. So began one of the largest and most complex emergency programs that we have ever been involved in. Even in the developed world, recovery from disasters can take years. In a country already suffering from extreme poverty, political instability, and weak and often corrupt state institutions, the task ahead was even more daunting.

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    Righting two wrongs - Making a new Global Climate Fund work for poor people

    Climate-related shocks are negatively affecting the lives of millions of poor women and men with increasing frequency and severity. There is an urgent need to set up a proper system of finance for adaptation to help developing countries avoid the worst impacts.

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    Planting Now - Agricultural challenges and opportunities for Haiti’s reconstruction

    The compact between the state and its citizens is weak; corruption, neglect, and favouritism towards the urban elite have left many rural Haitians distrustful of the government. Too often, decision-making forums have excluded the voices of rural poor people. However, since 2006, the government and donors have given greater attention to agriculture and listened more carefully to Haitian citizens’ views.

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    Halving Hunger

    The world can cut global hunger in half within five years, says a new Oxfam report released today. Oxfam’s report coincides with an announcement by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that the number of hungry people fell by 98 million last year to 925 million.

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    Promises, Promises: A briefing paper for the Kabul Conference in Afghanistan

    The Kabul Conference marks the ninth international conference on Afghanistan in nearly as many years. While much has improved in the lives of Afghans since the fall of the Taliban, progress has fallen far short of what has been promised.

    All eyes will be on Afghanistan on July 20, but it is what happens after the conference ends that matters most. Despite the formidable obstacles, the solution is not to take shortcuts or pursue quick fixes. It is to take fundamental steps to directly address the root causes of conflict, improve the effectiveness of aid and ensure that the needs of Afghans are at the heart of donor efforts in Afghanistan.

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    21st Century Aid: Stats and Report

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    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

    2

    A man looks at a Rolex advertisement in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 8, 2011. In a region where governments are swollen with foreign currency reserves and inflation remains relatively tame, Vietnam is an island of economic instability that is punishing the working class. (Justin Mott/The New York Times) #

    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

    3

    Traffic stops for a train to pass in Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 8, 2011. In a region where governments are swollen with foreign currency reserves and inflation remains relatively tame, Vietnam is an island of economic instability that is punishing the working class. (Justin Mott/The New York Times) #

    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

    4

    Workers settle in for the night inside an office building they are constructing in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 8, 2011. In a region where governments are swollen with foreign currency reserves and inflation remains relatively tame, Vietnam is an island of economic instability that is punishing the working class. (Justin Mott/The New York Times) #

    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

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    [iptc:caption] #

    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

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    A participant in the Congress Welcoming Performing Program carries a communist flag celebrating Vietnam's upcoming Communist Party National Congress in Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 8, 2011. In a region where governments are swollen with foreign currency reserves and inflation remains relatively tame, Vietnam is an island of economic instability that is punishing the working class. (Justin Mott/The New York Times) #

    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

    7

    Nguyen Phuong Hung, a third generation blacksmith, works at his tiny corner blacksmith shop in the ancient quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam, Oct. 12, 2010. Hung is the last blacksmith on Blacksmith Street forging heavy iron goods like crowbars, hammer heads, files and drill bits. (Justin Mott/The International Herald Tribune) #

    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

    8

    A vendor carries vegetables on a bicycle along a street in downtown Hanoi on December 17, 2010. The consumer-price index hit 11.1 percent in November, assuring that the full-year inflation rate will be a double figures. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

    9

    A vendor sells clothes along a street in downtown Hanoi on December 17, 2010. The consumer-price index hit 11.1 percent in November, assuring that the full-year inflation rate will be a double figures. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Vietnam Economy

    10

    A woman walks by the Gucci store in downtown during her engagement shoot in Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 8, 2011. In a region where governments are swollen with foreign currency reserves and inflation remains relatively tame, Vietnam is an island of economic instability that is punishing the working class. (Justin Mott/The New York Times) #

    The future of wheat – in many ways the future of food – was the subject of an emergency meeting of agricultural officials who flew to Rome from around the world, concerned over skyrocketing prices. Since July, when traders saw a historic heat wave devastating Russia’s crop, prices on the world’s wheat exchanges have shot up 50 percent. Corn and other grains rose in lockstep.

    Feeding the world, 9 billion people by 2050, will mean boosting food output globally by 70 percent over 40 years, the FAO says. But wheat, the biggest source of protein in poorer countries, is falling behind: As global population grows 1.5 percent a year, the growth in wheat yields – the amount of grain produced per hectare – has slipped below 1 percent a year. In the U.S., yields generally peaked in the 1990s.

    In the volcanic valleys of central Mexico, on the Canadian prairie, across India’s northern plain, they sow and they reap the golden grain that has fed us since the distant dawn of farming. But along with the wheat these days comes a harvest of worry. Yields aren’t keeping up with a world growing hungrier. Crops are stunted in a world grown warmer. A devastating fungus, a wheat “rust,” is spreading out of Africa, a grave threat to the food plant that covers more of the planet’s surface than any other.

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    1

    A Pakistani farmer sorts the wheat during the harvest in Muzaffargarh in Punjab province, Pakistan. The future of wheat - in many ways the future of food - was the subject of an emergency meeting of agricultural officials who flew to Rome from around the world, concerned over skyrocketing prices. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    2

    A woman prepares chapati, a traditional bread made with wheat flour, by the fireside as her son eats a meal at their home in Allahabad, India. Agronomists say rising temperatures from global warming are reducing India's wheat crop. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    3

    A man cooks roti, a traditional bread made with wheat flour, at a roadside stall in Mumbai, India. Future global wheat supplies are in question because of stagnating yields, the spread of a devastating wheat fungus, climate change and a volatile, unreliable market. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

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    A Russian man shovels wheat at a farm in Vasyurinskoe. The US government cut its forecasts for global wheat production as Russia suffers its worst drought in decades. Russia has seen 10 million hectares (25 million acres), or a quarter of arable land destroyed in its worst drought on record. MIKHAIL MORDASOV/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    5

    A farmer plows a field to sew wheat in Baradero, Buenos Aires. The Russian decision of stop its wheat exports increased its price more than 70 percent per ton. DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

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    Senegalese workers make bread from "Niebe" black-eyed peas at the Food Technology Institute (ITA) in Dakar. The black-eyed pea, known also as the cowpea, has the potential to feed millions and to act as a substitute for wheat which is not grown here or in many countries in the region. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

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    Senegalese women sort "Niebe" black-eyed peas at a factory in Dakar. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

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    A woman walks in wheat fields near Dong Van, Ha Giang, Vietnam. (Justin Mott/The New York Times) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

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    Residents tend crops near Dong Van, Ha Giang, Vietnam. (Justin Mott/The New York Times) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

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    North Korean villagers make their way along the fields at a village on the foothills of the Baekdu Mountains or known across the border as the Changbai Mountains as seen from northeast China's Jilin province. China, the North's economic lifeline and sole major ally, has pressed it to follow its example in freeing up the economy, but Kim Jong-il's regime appears so far to be fearful of relaxing its grip. OLLI GEIBEL/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

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    An afghan farmer carries wheat in Herat province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan. Feeding the world, 9 billion people by 2050, will mean boosting food output globally by 70 percent over 40 years, the FAO says. (AP Photo/Reza Shirmohammadi) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    12

    Indian Hindu priests clean wheat inside a temple in Ayodhya. Wheat, the biggest source of protein in poorer countries, is falling behind. As global population grows 1.5 percent a year, the growth in wheat yields - the amount of grain produced per hectare - has slipped below 1 percent a year. DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    13

    A man works in a wheat field, in Paraguay, 270 km east of Asuncion. In the volcanic valleys of central Mexico, on the Canadian prairie, across India's northern plain, they sow and they reap the golden grain that has fed us since the distant dawn of farming. But along with the wheat these days comes a harvest of worry. Yields aren't keeping up with a world growing hungrier. Crops are stunted in a world grown warmer. A devastating fungus, a wheat "rust," is spreading out of Africa, a grave threat to the food plant that covers more of the planet's surface than any other. NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    14

    As the sun sets, Monte McMillan cuts wheat with his combine, on his farmland near Moscow, Idaho, which is shown in the background. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

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    Matthew Reynolds, chief of wheat physiology at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT, holds a stalk of wheat at the center in Texcoco, Mexico. Scientists say future wheat supplies are in question because of stagnating yields, the spread of a devastating wheat fungus, the impact of global warming, and a volatile, unreliable market. To boost yields, Reynolds said, researchers may have to rely on genetic modification. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

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    Wheat is shown ready for harvest near Tioga, North Dakota. KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    17

    Traders at the Chicago Board of Trade work in the wheat options pit. Wheat prices have risen sharply again in 2010. U.S. Senate investigators cited market speculators as a major cause for even sharper price rises in 2007-2008, when people worldwide rioted over rising bread prices. Future wheat supplies are in question because of stagnating yields, crop disease, climate change and the volatile market. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    18

    People walk past barricades of burning tires in Maputo, Mozambique after police fired on stone-throwing crowds protesting rising bread prices. Thirteen people were killed in the violence, which observers feared might be a prelude to food-price riots like those that swept the world in 2008 when grain prices soared. Scientists say future wheat supplies are in question because of stagnating yields, the spread of a devastating wheat fungus, climate change and a volatile, unreliable market. (AP Photo/Nastasya Tay) #

    In Focus: The Future of Wheat

    19

    An Afghan farmer prays after a day of harvesting wheat in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. In the central highlands wheat and potatoes are the main crops, this year many of the farmers said their potato crops were up about 20%. Most families grow enough to feed themselves for seven months of the year but still are dependent on a high carbo-diet of mostly bread and potatoes which leads to malnutrition. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #

    A worker moves seeds from palm oil plants harvested from a boat in Kuala Cenaku in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Norway entered a partnership with Indonesia to support Indonesia’s efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation of forests and peat lands.

    The business of pulp, palm oil and wood are causing the deforestation of Sumatra, the largest island owned by Indonesia, and is contributing global climate change to the extinction of many of the world’s rare species.

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    1

    A worker moves seeds from palm oil plants harvested from a boat in Kuala Cenaku in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Norway entered a partnership with Indonesia to support Indonesia's efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation of forests and peat lands. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    2

    The business of pulp, palm oil and wood are causing the deforestation of Sumatra, the largest island owned by Indonesia. A worker grabs seeds from palm oil plants harvested in Kuala Cenaku. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    3

    A worker carries seeds from palm oil plants harvested by boat in Kuala Cenaku. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    4

    A fisherman looks for fish in Preserve Kerumutan River. The business of pulp, palm oil and wood are causing the deforestation of Sumatra, the largest island owned by Indonesia, and is contributing global climate change to the extinction of many of the world's rare species. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    5

    An illegal logger cuts trees from tropical rainforest in Kuala Cenaku.(Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    6

    Water cuts through a devastated peat swamp on land owned by PT Arara Abadi, part of the Sinar Mas Group that owns Asia Pulp & Paper Co., in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. The business of pulp is causing the deforestation of Sumatra. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    7

    Logger workers rest in their camp in a tropical rainforest in Kuala Cenaku. Norway entered a partnership with Indonesia to support Indonesia's efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation of forests and peat lands. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    8

    A devastated peat swamp is dormant on land owned by PT Arara Abadi, part of the Sinar Mas Group that owns Asia Pulp & Paper Co., on October 2, 2010 in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    9

    A forest is cleared for land by burning in Pangkalan Kuras. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    10

    A plantation worker plants oil palm seed in Pangkalan Kuras in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    In Focus: Sumatra Deforestation

    11

    The acacia tree grows in a devastated peat swamp on land in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Norway entered a partnership with Indonesia to support Indonesia's efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation of forests and peat lands. The business of pulp, palm oil and wood are causing the deforestation of Sumatra, the largest island owned by Indonesia, and is contributing global climate change to the extinction of many of the world's rare species. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

    Russia’s worst heatwave for decades shows no sign of relenting. President Dmitry Medvedev has declared a state of emergency in seven Russian regions over fires which have left tens of thousands of acres ablaze and uprooted hundreds from their homes. The emergency ministry said that forest fires had engulfed more than 114,000 hectares across Russia. It mobilized almost 240,000 emergency workers to fight the blazes, along with 2,000 members of the armed forces.

    The fires in forests, fields and peat bogs have killed up to 40 people throughout Russia and come after weeks of searing heat and practically no rain. A new wildfire broke out near a major nuclear research centre in the Russian town of Sarov, causing the plant’s management to ask firefighters and troops to reverse their withdrawal.

    Natalia Solonina, 70, stands in front of charred chimneys, all that was left of her houses, after a spreading wildfire burned them to the ground as well as the entire village of Peredeltsy in Ryazan region, some 111 miles southeast of Moscow. Nearly 600 separate blazes have burned nationwide, mainly across western Russia, according to the Emergencies Ministry, which said that the area affected had increased. Hundreds of forest and peat bog fires have ignited amid the country’s most intense heat wave in 130 years of record-keeping.

    The severe drought has destroyed much of the wheat crop in Russia, the world’s third-largest exporter, and now wildfires are sweeping in to finish off some of the fields that remained. Moscow announced a ban on grain exports due to the severe drought that has reduced this year’s estimated harvest by a third.

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    1

    Natalia Solonina, 70, stands in front of the charred chimneys, all that was left of the houses, after a spreading wildfire burned them to the ground as well as the entire village of Peredeltsy in Ryazan region, some 180 km (111 miles) southeast of Moscow, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010. Nearly 600 separate blazes were burning nationwide Saturday, mainly across western Russia, according to the Emergencies Ministry, which said that the area affected had increased over the past 24 hours. Hundreds of forest and peat bog fires have ignited amid the country's most intense heat wave in 130 years of record-keeping. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    2

    A Russian man walks in a forest near the village of Golovanovo, Ryazan region, on August 5, 2010.Russia struggled to contain the worst wildfires in its modern history that have killed 50, after President Dmitry Medvedev sacked top military officers for negligence in the catastrophe. AFP PHOTO / NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    3

    A fire fighter attempts to extinguish a forest fire near the village of Dolginino in the Ryazan region, some 180 km (111 miles) southeast of Moscow. The new climate change treaty under negotiation for the last 2 1/2 years begins with a brief document called "A Shared Vision." The problem is, there isn't one. The latest round of talks that concluded Friday Aug. 6, 2010 showed that the 194 negotiating countries have failed to even define a common target or method for curbing greenhouse gases, just one example of the ongoing divide among rich and poor nations. (AP Photo/File) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    4

    Russian people dig a ditch to protect them from fires in the village Mokhovoye, Lukhovitsi municipal district, some 130 kilometers from Moscow, on August 3, 2010. Russia's worst heatwave for decades shows no sign of relenting, officials warned as firefighters battled hundreds of wildfires in a national disaster that has claimed at least 40 lives. President Dmitry Medvedev has declared a state of emergency in seven Russian regions over the fires which have left tens of thousands of hectares of land ablaze and uprooted hundreds from their homes. AFP PHOTO / ANDREY SMIRNOV #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    5

    A tree trunk burning amid smoldering remnants of a forest outside the village of Kadanok, 90 miles (150 kilometers) southeast of Moscow, seen Tuesday, Aug, 3, 2010. The fires in forests, fields and peat bogs have killed up to 40 people throughout Russia and come after weeks of searing heat and practically no rain. The weather in the areas where the blazes are concentrated are forecast to reach 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) this week. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    6

    Local residents make a human chain to carry buckets of water to extinguishes a peat fire in a forest near the town of Shatura, some 130 km (81 miles) southeast of Moscow, Thursday, July 29, 2010. Peat swamps started burning in central Russia following an unprecedented heat wave. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    7

    A man sits on burned out car in the village Kriusha on August 7, 2010. Russia struggled to contain the worst wildfires in its modern history that have killed 52, after President Dmitry Medvedev sacked top military officers for negligence in the catastrophe. AFP PHOTO / ARTYOM KOROTAYEVKOROTAYEV #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    8

    Russian women cry near the remains of their burnt out homes in Voronezh on August 1, 2010. Firefighters fought an uphill battle against spreading forest fires that have already killed 30 people, destroyed thousands of homes and mobilised hundreds of thousands of emergency workers. The emergency ministry said that forest fires had engulfed more than 114,000 hectares across Russia. It mobilised almost 240,000 emergency workers to fight the blazes, along with 2,000 members of the armed forces. AFP PHOTO / ALEXEY SAZONOV #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    9

    A nun from the Vyksynsky Iversky monastery distributes food to volunteer firefighters in the forest near the village of Verhnyaya Vereya, some 350 kilometres from Moscow, on August 6, 2010. AFP PHOTO / ANDREY SMIRNOV #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    10

    Alexander, 26, collects potatoes in the garden of his house that was burned to the ground fire at the village of Peredeltsi that was burned to the ground by a wildfire in Ryazan region, some 180 km (111 miles) southeast of Moscow, Friday, Aug. 6, 2010. More than 500 separate blazes were burning nationwide Friday mainly across western Russia, amid the country's most intense heat wave in 130 years. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    11

    The carcass of a charred bird, foreground, lies in the village of Mokhovoe destroyed by a forest fire near the town of Lukhovitsy some 135 km (84 miles) southeast of Moscow, Friday, July 30, 2010. The fires have spread quickly across more than 200,000 acres (90,000 hectares) in recent days, destroying this town, after a record heat wave and severe drought that has plagued Russia for weeks. (AP Photo/Dmitry Chistopudov) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    12

    A Russian man scratches his head while standing near the charred remains of his burnt out home in Voronezh on August 3, 2010. Russia's worst heatwave for decades shows no sign of relenting, officials warned as firefighters battled hundreds of wildfires in a national disaster that has claimed at least 40 lives. President Dmitry Medvedev has declared a state of emergency in seven Russian regions over the fires which have left tens of thousands of hectares of land ablaze and uprooted hundreds from their homes. AFP PHOTO / Alexey SAZONOV #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    13

    A ceramic dog statue that survived last week's fire is seen surrounded by burned-down ruins of the wooden house in the village of Kadanok, 90 miles (150 kilometers) southeast of Moscow, seen Tuesday, Aug, 3, 2010. The fires in forests, fields and peat bogs have killed up to 40 people throughout Russia and come after weeks of searing heat and practically no rain. The weather in the areas where the blazes are concentrated are forecast to reach 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) this week. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    14

    A forest fire volunteer on a burned field near the village of Plotava in the east of the Moscow, Aug. 5, 2010. In this summer of extreme heat, drought, crop failures and a nationwide eruption of wildfires, the Russian government is facing a rare upwelling of popular anger with more than 3,000 people left homeless because of fires. (James Hill/The New York Times) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    15

    A Bulgarian firefighter drinks water from a fire hose while fighting a blaze in the forest near Noginsk on August 10, 2010. Russia fought a deadly battle to prevent wildfires from engulfing key nuclear sites as alarm mounted over the impact on health of a toxic smoke cloud that has shrouded Moscow. AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    16

    Volunteers look at the sky as they prepare for extinguishing a fire at a forest near the village of Tokhushevo, some 50 km outside Sarov, on August 11, 2010. A new wildfire broke out Wednesday near a major nuclear research centre in the Russian town of Sarov, causing the plant's management to ask firefighters and troops to reverse their withdrawal. AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    17

    Russian firefighters prepare to extinguish a fire at a forest near the village of Tokhushevo, some 50 km outsede Sarov on August 11, 2010. A new wildfire broke out Wednesday near a major nuclear research centre in the Russian town of Sarov, causing the plant's management to ask firefighters and troops to reverse their withdrawal. AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    18

    Fading sunflowers droop in a field in Voronezh region, some 415 km (257 miles) south of Moscow, Monday, Aug. 2, 2010, after weeks of searing heat and practically no rain. A severe drought destroyed one-fifth of the wheat crop in Russia, the world's third-largest exporter, and now wildfires are sweeping in to finish off some of the fields that remained.(AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    19

    In this photo taken from the driver's cab, farmers bring in the harvest with their combine harvesters, which are reflected in the mirror, in a barley field near the village of Uzunovo in Moscow region, 170 km (105 miles) south of Moscow, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010. Last week, Moscow announced a ban on grain exports due to a severe drought that has reduced this year's estimated harvest by a third. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    20

    Russian women organize donated clothing and household items at a humanitarian aid collection point in Moscow on August 10, 2010 for victim's of the nation's worst ever forest fires. Russia is starting to count the losses of the worst heatwave in its history, with economists saying the weather may cost the economy billions of dollars and undercut a modest economic revival. AFP PHOTO / NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    21

    Teenagers jump into fountains to cool themselves in Alexandrovsky Garden just outside the Moscow Kremlin, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010. Usually Russia's summer snags are little more than a brief irritation; a few days of heat, followed by cooling rains. This year is different. Moscow, a city that has beaten back huge military assaults and survived horrifying terrorist attacks, is under a quiet siege that it seems helpless to repel. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    22

    A couple rest in Alexander's Garden just outside Moscow's Kremlin, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010, enjoying the brief respite from the smog due to a change in the wind direction. Deaths in Moscow have doubled to an average of 700 people a day as the Russian capital is engulfed by poisonous smog from wildfires and a sweltering heat wave, a top health official said Monday. Acrid smog blanketed Moscow for a six straight day Monday, with concentrations of carbon monoxide and other poisonous substances two to three times higher than what is considered safe. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    23

    A newly married couple, no name given, celebrate their wedding despite the deep layer of smog from wildfires covering the ancient Russian city of Ryazan, some 180 km (111 miles) southeast of Moscow. Nearly 600 separate blazes were burning nationwide Saturday, mainly across western Russia, according to the Emergencies Ministry, which said that the area affected had increased over the past 24 hours. Hundreds of forest and peat bog fires have ignited amid the country's most intense heat wave in 130 years of record-keeping. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    24

    A man sprays water on Tverskaya street in the center of Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. In many Russian regions, including Moscow, July was the hottest month since records began 130 years ago, and the heat wave is expected to last at least through the end of this week. Photographer: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/Bloomberg #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    25

    Russian women organize donated clothing and household items at a humanitarian aid collection point in Moscow on August 10, 2010 for victim's of the nation's worst ever forest fires. Russia is starting to count the losses of the worst heatwave in its history, with economists saying the weather may cost the economy billions of dollars and undercut a modest economic revival. AFP PHOTO / NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    26

    A young woman cools off in a fountain near the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. In many Russian regions, including Moscow, July was the hottest month since records began 130 years ago, and the heat wave is expected to last at least through the end of this week. Photographer: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/Bloomberg #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    27

    People rest on the Manezhaya Square just outside the Moscow Kremlin, Monday, Aug. 9, 2010, enjoying the brief respite from the smog due to a change in the wind direction. Deaths in Moscow have doubled to an average of 700 people a day as the Russian capital is engulfed by poisonous smog from wildfires and a sweltering heat wave, a top health official said Monday. Acrid smog blanketed Moscow for a six straight day Monday, with concentrations of carbon monoxide and other poisonous substances two to three times higher than what is considered safe. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) #

    In Focus: Russia's Long Summer

    28

    Local residents look at a heavy smog from a peat fire in a forest near the town of Shatura, some 130 km (81 miles) southeast of Moscow, Thursday, July 29, 2010. Peat swamps started burning in central Russia following an unprecedented heat wave. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #

    Chinese workers take a break at a site of the construction of a highway in Beijing. China is set to overtake Japan as the world’s second largest-economy in a resurgence that is changing everything from the global balance of military and financial power to how cars are designed.

    China’s car production and sales will both exceed 15 million units this year, state media quoted an industry association as saying on August 4. China’s auto sales exceeded 13.64 million units in 2009, which confirmed the nation’s status as the world’s biggest car market. China has moved to further free up the nation’s gold market by allowing more commercial banks to import and export the precious metal, as rising prices for bullion and tumbling stock markets spur demand.

    Global tourism faces a challenging year due to the downturn but the future is bright, with a growing middle class in emerging markets eager for travel, industry executives meeting in Beijing say.

    In Focus: China Economy

    1

    Laborers work at an iron and steel plant in Huaibei, in eastern China's Anhui province. Manufacturing in China contracted for the first time in 16 months in July, an independent survey showed on August 2, lifting Chinese shares on hopes that policymakers will refrain from any new tightening moves. AFP/Getty Images #

    China is one of the countries most susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change, mainly in the fields of agriculture, livestock breeding, forestry, natural ecosystems, water resources, and coastal zones.

    Impact on Agriculture and Livestock Breeding

    Climate change has already produced visible adverse effects on China's agriculture and livestock-raising sectors, manifested by in-creased instability in agricultural production, severe damages to crops and livestock breeding caused by drought and high temperatures in some parts of the country, aggravated spring freeze injury to early-budding crops due to climate warming, decline in the output and quality of grasslands, and augmented losses caused by meteorological disasters.

    The impact of future climate change on agriculture and livestock breeding will still be mainly adverse. It is likely there will be a drop in the yield of the three major crops — wheat, paddy rice and corn; changes in the agricultural production layout and structure; accelerated decomposition of organic elements in the soil; enlarged scope of crop diseases and insect pests; accelerated potential desertification trend of grasslands; rising frequency of natural fire disasters; sagging livestock production and reproductive ability; and growing risk of livestock epidemics.

    Impact on Forestry and Other Natural Ecosystems

    The impact of climate change on China's forestry and other natural ecosystems are mainly manifested in the following aspects: the north-ward shift of the northern boundaries of eastern subtropical and temperature zones and early phenophase; upward shift of the lower boundaries of forest belts in some areas; elevation of lower line of highland permafrost and decreased area of permafrost; rising frequency of animal and plant diseases and insect pests with marked changes in the distribution of regions; reduced area and overall shrinking trend of glaciers in northwestern China; and threat to the oasis ecosystem posed by accelerated melting of glaciers and snow cover.

    Future climate change will further increase the fragility of ecosystems, diminish the distribution areas of main afforestation and rare tree species, enlarge the outbreak scope of forest diseases and insect pests, and increase the frequency of forest fires and fire-vulnerable areas, shrink inland lakes and cause the decrease and functional degeneration of wetland resources, speed up the reduction of the area of glaciers and permafrost, and significantly alter the spatial distribution pattern of permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and damage bio-diversity.

    Impact on Water Resources

    Climate change has already caused changes in the distribution of water resources all over China. Over the past two decades, the gross amount of water resources of the Yellow, Huaihe, Haihe and Liaohe rivers in northern China has been visibly reduced, whilst that of rivers in southern China has slightly increased. Floods happen more frequently, droughts get worse, and extreme climate phenomena show a conspicuous rise.

    It is predicted that future climate change will have a great impact on the temporal and spatial distribution of water resources in the following ways: augmenting annual and inter-annual changes and boosting the occurrence of extreme natural disasters, including flood and drought. In particular, accelerated melting of glaciers in western China owing to climate warming will further lessen the area of glaciers and glacier ice reserves, thus having significant impacts on rivers and run-offs with sources in glacier melt water. Climate warming will possibly reinforce the drought trend in northern China, and intensify water scarcity and contradiction between water supply and demand.

    Impact on Coastal Zones

    The past 30 years have witnessed in China an accelerating trend of sea level rise, which has caused seawater intrusion, soil salinization and coastal erosion, damaged the typical marine ecosystems of coastal wetlands, mangrove swamps and coral reefs, and diminished the ser-vice functions and bio-diversity of coastal zones. Sea temperature rise and seawater acidification resulting from climate change have given rise to a lack of oxygen in some maritime areas, the degradation of marine fishing resources and the survival of rare and endangered species.

    It is predicted that the sea level in the coastal zones of China will continue to rise. Sea level rise will undermine the capacity of public drainage facilities in coastal cities, and impair the functions of harbors.

    Impact on Society, Economy and Other Fields

    Climate change will also produce far-reaching impacts on society, economy and other fields, and cause huge losses to the national economy. Corresponding economic and social costs will have to be paid for addressing climate change. In addition, there will be increased chances of disease occurrence and spread, ensuing dangers to human health, rising possibilities of geological and meteorological disasters and con-sequent threats to the security of major projects. The eco-environment and bio-diversity of nature reserves and national parks will be affected, accompanied by adverse effects on natural and cultural tourism re-sources, and augmented threats to the safety of life and property, and to the normal order and stability of social life.

    In Focus: China Economy

    2

    Chinese workers take a break at a site of the construction of a highway in Beijing. China is set to overtake Japan as the world's second largest-economy in a resurgence that is changing everything from the global balance of military and financial power to how cars are designed. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

    In Focus: China Economy

    3

    A Chinese man rests by loop of a highway under construction in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

    In Focus: China Economy

    4

    A Chinese migrant worker walks past a make-shift wall with "luxury" written on, which encloses buildings of high-end commercial and residential project under construction in Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

    In Focus: China Economy

    5

    A Chinese migrant worker uses his mobile phone in front of a make-shift wall with Beijing's skyline, which encloses buildings of a high-end commercial and residential project under construction in Beijing. China is set to overtake Japan as the world's second largest-economy in a resurgence that is changing everything from the global balance of military and financial power to how cars are designed. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

    In Focus: China Economy

    6

    Cars are seen on a highway in Shanghai on August 3, 2010. While China overtook the US for the first time in 2009 to become the world's biggest vehicle market, data shows that the country's sales have started to slow in recent months. PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: China Economy

    7

    Early morning traffic crosses the Huanhuayuan bridge across the Jialing in southwest China's Chongqing municipality on July 28, 2010. China's car production and sales will both exceed 15 million units this year, state media quoted an industry association as saying on August 4. China's auto sales exceeded 13.64 million units in 2009, which confirmed the nation's status as the world's biggest car market. OLLI GEIBEL/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: China Economy

    8

    A woman walks across a lawn surrounded by electric pylons in Beijing, China. China is set to overtake Japan as the world's second largest-economy in a resurgence that is changing everything from the global balance of military and financial power to how cars are designed. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan) #

    In Focus: China Economy

    9

    A truck driver waits in front of containers at the Tianjin port in China Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

    In Focus: China Economy

    10

    A Chinese worker waits for customers at a gold shop in Beijing on August 4, 2010. China has moved to further free up the nation's gold market by allowing more commercial banks to import and export the precious metal, as rising prices for bullion and tumbling stock markets spur demand. Franko Lee/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: China Economy

    11

    A Chinese bank worker counting stacks of 100 yuan (14.75 USD) notes at a bank in Huaibei, in eastern China's Anhui province. The yuan's daily trading band is "appropriate" for the time being but could be widened in the future, a vice-governor of China's central bank said in an interview published on August 2, 2010. STR/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: China Economy

    12

    A woman checks her mobile phone as she walks past a bank billboard in Shanghai on July 27, 2010. Nearly a quarter of the 7.66 trillion yuan (1.1 trillion dollars) that Chinese banks lent to local government financing vehicles is "at serious risk of default", a report said. PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: China Economy

    13

    Tourists wait to take a cable car to cross the Jialing river in southwest China's Chongqing municipality on July 18, 2010. Global tourism faces a challenging year due to the downturn but the future is bright, with a growing middle class in emerging markets eager for travel, industry executives meeting in Beijing say. OLLI GEIBEL/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: China Economy

    14

    Two men walk past a giant fashion goods billboard outside a shopping mall in Beijing on August 2, 2010. LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: China Economy

    15

    Chinese visitors take a look at the latest Ford automobile at a auto dealership in Beijing, China. China is set to overtake Japan as the world's second largest-economy in a resurgence that is changing everything from the global balance of military and financial power to how cars are designed. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

    In Focus: China Economy

    16

    Chinese children play with toy cars at a toy fair in Beijing on July 29, 2010. China has moved ahead of Japan to become the world's second-largest economy, a senior central bank official said in an interview published on July 30. AFP/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: China Economy

    17

    Chinese house shoppers gather at a property fair in Beijing on August 2, 2010. China's banking regulators will step up spot checks on banks in the second half of 2010 to ensure lenders are obeying property loan policies introduced this year, state media said. STR/AFP/Getty Images #

    In Focus: China Economy

    18

    Two tourists take photos at an old town in southwest China's Chongqing municipality. Global tourism faces a challenging year due to the downturn but the future is bright, with a growing middle class in emerging markets eager for travel, industry executives meeting in Beijing say. AFP/Getty Images #

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