Climate Report Ignored by Chinese Media

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Agence France Presse

Climate Report Ignored by Chinese Media

by
Agence France Presse staff

China's media largely ignored a landmark report on global warming on Saturday as Beijing sweated through an unseasonal heatwave.

The China Daily, an English-language newspaper aimed largely at foreigners, ran a front-page story on the report released in Bangkok outlining measures needed to avert potential disaster brought on by global warming. 0506 01

However, China's most influential press, including the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist party, overlooked it entirely.

Weather information indicates that China is already feeling the effects of global warming.

Newspapers on Friday reported record temperatures in Beijing which saw the mercury hit 31.9 degrees (89.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on May 3, the highest in 40 years.

This followed the warmest winter on record in the Chinese capital, when temperatures rose to 16 degrees Celsius in early February, far above the normal average of around freezing.

In Bangkok on Friday, experts from 120 nations endorsed proposals made by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to fight global warming which they said were cheap and easy enough for political leaders to act on right away.

But the only Saturday report of the summit in a mainstream Chinese newspaper was in the Beijing Youth Daily which ran a five paragraph factual account on page 10 attributed to China's official news agency Xinhua.

On the Internet, the same Xinhua report was reproduced on the leading Chinese portals like Sina.com and Sohu.com.

The Bangkok report called for simple measures like switching to energy efficient light bulbs and adjusting the thermostat in the office.

But it also included extremely controversial and complex techniques such as nuclear power, and the storing of carbon dioxide -- the major greenhouse gas -- underground instead of letting it spew into the atmosphere.

Renewable energies, such as wind, solar and biofuel, were highlighted as an important part of the mix, while the experts said putting a price on using the fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gases was important.

During the conference China, which fears a slowdown in its surging economic growth, had led concerns about the price of fighting global change.

Northeastern China and the Himalayan region of Tibet also witnessed abnormally high temperatures during the winter months, which were the warmest in both regions for decades.

Copyright © 2007 AFP.

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