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Det har gått opp for kinesiske fagmiljøer at stigende hav representerer en fare for byer som Shanghai og Gouangzhou. 70 prosent av storbyene med over 60 prosent av befolkningen ligger ved kysten.

A report released recently by the State Oceanic Administration has warned of a rapid rise in sea levels that threatens China’s densely populated east coast, the China Daily reported.

«The speed is astonishing,» said Lu Xuedu, the deputy director of the environmental division of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

«Coastal cities including Shanghai and Guangzhou will confront unimaginable challenges if the situation deteriorates,» he told the paper.

Havet stiger med 2,5 millimeter i året. Det høres ikke mye ut. Men over tid gjør det stor forskjell. De neste ti årene vil havet stige 31 millimeter.

«They’ll begin building dykes like the Dutch, to stop the cities from being flooded,» said Yang Ailun, an expert on climate change with Greenpeace China.

«But building dykes will be an action taken too late, and we first need to start cutting greenhouse gas emissions,» she said.

China is preparing a campaign to alert local officials to global warming, in an apparent attempt to address the root causes, the paper said.

The plan calls for the reduction of greenhouse gases and development of climate-friendly technologies, and could be submitted to the cabinet by the end of the month.

It is likely to exert only minor pressure on local officials, as it will not set specific targets and will be «more of a guideline,» said Lu.

Observers have argued that it is particularly important to address officials at the grassroots level. This is because they are evaluated according to their ability to generate growth, meaning there is little incentive to curb pollution.

Rising sea levels present China with ‘unimaginable challenges’

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