Environmental change and the Asia Pacific: China responds to global warming

Paul G. HARRIS, Hongyuan YU

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

Abstract

China has risen to become the Asian Pacific region’s pre-eminent economic and political force. While it has contributed to regional economic growth, it has simultaneously taken on the unenviable role of being the region’s largest polluter. Among its new distinctions, China is now the second largest source—after the United States—of pollutants that are warming the global atmosphere.1 More than two decades have passed since the world’s governments began to seriously consider the problems of global warming and resulting climate change. We know that global warming is caused by human activities—notably the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels—resulting in the emission of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHGs). Global warming in turn is causing climate change, which is manifested in rising sea levels, droughts, floods, spread of pests, harm to natural ecosystems and species, and other usually adverse consequences. As these impacts on environmental security have become clearer, governments have started to work unilaterally and in concert to adapt to and—much less robustly—to mitigate climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
JournalGlobal Change, Peace and Security
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2005

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