In 2011 global carbon dioxide emissions rose by 3.2 percent compared to 2010 according to the International Energy Agency. A total of 31.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions were released into the atmosphere. China continued to be the top emissions producer, with a 9.3 percent rise over 2010, largely due to increased coal use. Despite increasing their energy efficiency, China continues to see considerable rises in carbon emissions.
China currently reigns at the top carbon dioxide emitter and they are not immune to the consequences of increasing atmospheric pollution and global warming. Recently experts have indicated that global warming has caused an increase in precipitation in China, a common consequence of a warming world. The increased precipitation has subsequently led to increased floods and issues with drainage across the country, especially in large cities.
According to experts from the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, China’s northern provinces have experienced considerably higher rainfall beginning in 2008. Recent storms have brought rainfall levels not seen in decades to many areas, with record precipitation experienced across the nation. Some studies have indicated that the increased precipitation due to global warming may hamper China for upwards of twenty years.
Beijing recently had a storm which brought upwards of 21.3 inches of rain, the most in sixty-one years. Beijing also had a record 5 inches of rain in one hour, Hong Kong a record 4.5 inches in one hour. Considerable figures such as these continue to be reported across China and the precipitation is pegged as due to climate change.
Wu Zhenghua from the Beijing Meteorological Bureau stated: “Global warming has increased the temperature in the middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in more water vapor exchange and heat exchange with low latitude regions, and thus bringing more frequent heavy precipitation.”
Major cities across China are facing infrastructure issues as the rains continue to pummel the country. Major cities currently only have infrastructure able to maintain between 1.4 and 2 inches of rain per hour, figures which are well below recent record breaking precipitation many cities have experienced leading to major floods. Major floods have been a continual and growing problem in rural areas as well.