Antoaneta Bezlova, Inter Press Service
February 5, 2007
Beijing: Following the release of an authoritative United Nations report that unequivocally links human activities with climate change, the rulers of the world’s most populous country are faced with the quandary of balancing prosperity against pollution. … Last summer, officials battled charges that China’s worst drought in 50 years had been caused by the completion of the Three Gorges Dam – the world’s largest dam straddling the Yangtze river. Instead, they blamed the adverse climate for the unprecedented drought that had affected the lives of 17 million people in southwestern China. “The abnormalities are caused by global warming and the overall change in the world’s climate,” Dong Wenjie, director of the National Weather Forecast Centre, told the media. “It has nothing to do with the completion and operation of the Three Gorges Dam.” Now, hydrologists have admitted that Yangtze’s level last year was the lowest in 140 years, raising the spectre of serious shortage of drinking water for millions of people in central and western China. The situation is especially grim in northern China where rivers now run dry in their low reaches for much of the year. In 1997, the Yellow river, once known as “China’s Sorrow’ for its ability to inflict destruction with its flood-swollen waters, ran dry for 226 days. … Read the full story [PDF].