China and the "Deniers": Why Climate Change Is Problematic for China

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"Chinese media are reporting on alternative climate theories, including the possibility that global cooling has begun."

In the wake of Climategate, Chinese climate researchers have been looking for a way forward. For the past few years, the Chinese government has been supportive of the "consensus" Western position on climate change. Wanting very much to be liked and accepted internationally, China went along with the climate-change predictions being put forward by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They publicly agreed with the potential dangers posed by climate change, while all along making it clear they would not accept any mandatory limits on their carbon dioxide emissions.

But Climategate plus more recent revelations about the not-shrinking Himalayan glaciers, have gotten prominent play in the Chinese media. On January 20, the IPCC admitted that its 2007 report, which predicted the Himalayan glaciers would melt away as soon as 2035, was false and not supported by any real scientific data. On January 22, one of the most important newspapers in China, China Daily, reported on other mistakes in the 2007 IPCC report including:
  • The claim that the Himalayan glaciers were melting faster than other glaciers was inconsistent with the facts;

  • The claim that the total glacier area will be reduced from the current 500,000 square kilometers to 100,000 square kilometers. In fact, the total actual size of the Himalayan glaciers is only 330,000 square kilometers.
China's eagerness to point out the shortcomings in the IPCC's work is due, in part, to the fact that Chinese climate researchers have little of their own climatic data, and the data that they do have is of poor quality.

Meanwhile, the Chinese media has begun reporting on alternative climate theories, including the possibility that global cooling has begun.

The stunning errors by the IPCC, the global cooling theories, and the inability of the Chinese to collect their own data have left them bewildered, particularly given their aggressive economic development plans. Add in the fact that China has been hit by record cold this winter, and the quandary becomes yet more apparent.

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