Rare Sight in China - Climate Change Could be Cause
13 November 2006
Visitors to the Shanghai Botanical Garden are this week witnessing a very rare event - chrysanthemums, orchids and osmanthus flowers all in full bloom at the same time.
Climate Change "Spiralling Out of Control"
Meanwhile, it has been reported in the journal Nature that greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing four times faster than the 1990s, giving added urgency to the international talks on climate change taking place in Nairobi.
Michael Raupach, a carbon-cycle scientist with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Canberra, who presented the Global Carbon Project results, reported "Global carbon emissions are now growing by 3.2% a year... That's four times higher than the average annual growth of 0.8% from 1990-99... We are not on any of the stabilization paths."
This is well beyond Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections of the emissions levels needed to prevent damaging climate change.
The accelerated rise is a result of rapid growth in developing economies such as China, India and Brazil, as well as the failure of developed countries such as the US to mitigate their greenhouse gas output.
China currently contributes some 16% to global emissions, but accounts for 40% of the growth in world emissions.
China Has an Important Role to Play
"What's really striking is the rate of growth in places like China," says Raupach. According to Chinese figures, China
The US and Australia have previously rejected the treaty and it a sign of progress that they are attending the talks at all. Some are hoping the US will soften their outlook after this week’s Democratic victories in the mid-term elections, and the language of the Australian government has also changed.
But if China doesn't also take strong and immediate action they could be seeing many more climate changes, not all as welcome as unusual flowering times at the botanic gardens.
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Download the Gran Canaria Declaration on Climate Change as a PDF
In issuing its ‘Gran Canaria Declaration on Climate Change and Plant Conservation’ the Gran Canaria Group, whose membership is drawn from major biodiversity conservation organisations around the world, calls on the international community to take urgent action to protect global plant diversity.
The No-nonsense Guide to Climate Change (Dinyar Godrej, 2001)
This easy to read overview of climate change sifts scientific theory from scientific fact and presents the impacts on health, farming and wildlife, along with an analysis of political negotiations on the issue and potential solutions to it.