The country’s State Oceanic Administration released findings that climate change-induced storm waves and rising sea levels cost China 16.3 billion yuan ($2.6 bn) and killed 121 people in 2013. Storm waves caused 94 percent of that destruction, Reuters reports.
Sea levels in China have risen a yearly 2.9 mm, on average, since 1980 – faster than global sea-level rises.
While climate change is a global phenomenon that doesn’t respect national boundaries, China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
The country has a target to cut GHG emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent, versus 2005 levels, by 2020. The government also plans to protect against rising sea levels by improving embankments, building submerged breakwater structures and converting some coastal farmland.
Meanwhile, a study by Columbia University and Chongqing Medical University found that air pollution from a Chinese coal-fired power plant, now shut, led to genetic changes that may have caused learning difficulties in children.
Babies born in southwestern Tongliang county had significantly lower levels of a protein crucial to brain development, and had poorer learning and memory skills when tested at age two. Officials shut down the plant in May 2004, Bloomberg reports.
Takeaway: A report from the Chinese government found that storm waves and sea-level rises cost the country $2.6 billion last year, while another report by academics found a Chinese coal-fired plant caused genetic changes and may have impaired children’s learning skills.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.