The issue of global warming started way back in the early 1990s and since then there has been growing international concerns on combating global warming. In a step to bring all nations on board, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) was established in 1992, in Rio de Janeiro (Yu, 2008). The main objective of treaty was to deliberate on reducing green house gases emissions by individual countries worldwide and especially those countries who are the main emitters of carbon. Because of the direct link of this treaty to the economy, many nations are skeptical on signing to the treaty. Yu (2008) asserted that, ‘mitigation of climate change will be achieved by substantial collaboration under the UNFCCC’ (P.1).
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Global warming has had a potential negative impact on the china’s environment. It has been found that since 1990, china has experienced environmental degradation due to this global warming. In fact Yu (2008) said that due to the adverse effect on the china’s environment, their leaders have had to rethink more about the issue. There are many effects of global warming such as environmental degradation, sea level rise and severe weather patterns that may lead to coastal flooding. Today China is believed to be one of the world’s polluter of environment owing to its growth in economy boosted by adequate supply coal and oil production (Yu, 2008).
Interestingly, global warming is caused by human activities such as: use of oil, fossil fuels, and burning of coal which leads to release of carbon dioxide and green house gases into the atmosphere. The high proportion of this carbon dioxide in the atmosphere generates extreme global warming (Maslin, 2004). Sadly, rise in temperature in the planet-earth- poses a potential threat to the existence of human beings. Negal (1994) observed that the advancement of technology and economic growth and modernization has to a large extend contributed to the global warming. He warns that ‘global warming and unusual weather patterns threaten the very existence of the globe’ (p.98). Nagel (1994) when writing about ‘Asian development and public policy’, describes china as being confronted with two interconnected challenges: maintaining technological advancement while combating ecological catastrophe generated by this technology.
The increase in China’s population over the years has led to the increase in the environmental pollution. According to Nagel (1994), about sixty cities in China have badly been affected by smog and factory emissions (p.199); and some cities in the Northern part projected high levels of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Because of rising demand for use of coal and oil, China is certainly predicted to have a significant increase in emission of Carbon dioxide. About ‘12.0 billion tons in 2030’, which will be the highest ever attained by any nation have been projected (Lloyed, 2009, p.51). Lloyed warns that, if China’s projected emission is what to go by, then it will be impossible to control the effects of global warming, however much, other countries try to minimize their emissions.
Although china is one of the highly populated countries in the world with over 1.2 billion people, it is also one of the poorest (Harris, 2003). To support this growing population, China increased its industrial growth which translated to increased supply of food and other necessities within the country. According to Harris (2003), issue of global warming in China has aroused due to the modernization of economy and diversification of energy to feed the growing modernization. In respect to this, China increased its energy use by 208 percent between 1970 and 1990, while coal rose by 69.9 percent (Harris, 2003). Eventually, China recorded approximately 13.4 percent of the world carbon dioxide emissions which rated them as the second, after the United States, largest producer in the world.
The Chinas’ policy on energy is informed by the strategy of increasing production and supply. In 1980s, China started facing acute shortage of energy due to its growing industries; other sources of energy that are economical and viable were needed urgently to boost the energy shortage. Therefore they resorted to oil which was easily available and required little amount of capital. To be specific, china uses a lot of coal in their industrial sector as compared to other nations in the world where their alternative sources of energy such as electricity are being used. Harris (2003) says that China’s energy has been misused by users because of its ‘low price policy’ of coal, inefficiency of industrial machines such as boilers which burn coal, and poor infrastructure (p.47)
The outcome of all this overuse and misuse of energy was a serious environmental catastrophe. Harris (2003) described that China encountered serious water shortages, land degradation, water pollution; ‘but among the most serious environmental problems is atmospheric pollution’ (p.47). In addition, respiratory complications increased due to pollution of air caused by incomplete combustion of coal from industries. There was also destruction of crops, forest and fisheries accelerated by unprecedented levels of acid rain (Harris, 2003).
In conclusion, the China’s modernization has had adverse impact on global warming. To start with, industrial expansion of China sparked high demand of fuel.
In response to this demand, China increased supply of coal and oil. The rise in demand for the use of these carbon emitters fuel has had a devastating effect on China and even global climate change. Carbon dioxide and greenhouses gases which origins from burning of coal and oil, rises the earth temperature. The high emission of carbon dioxide in China has been caused by three key factors: low pricing policy of coal in China which led to the less conservation of energy by industries; low efficiency level of machines used by Chinese industries to burn coal and poor infrastructure. It is predicted that by 2030, China will be the leading producer of carbon dioxide with approximate 12.0 billion tons. The ramifications of this will be felt in so many generations to come. This is a collective responsibility for every nation towards the protection of the future generation. Therefore all nations should commit themselves in reducing the carbon dioxide emission to the environments.