China's Responses to Global Change
CHINA'S VIEW OF GLOBAL CHANGE
In the international dialogue, global change research addresses the causes and consequences of global environmental change on regional and local systems. Also, global change research may address problems that are local in nature but which are occurring ubiquitously and so have become global problems (such as soil erosion). However, a certain imprecision exists in this definition that can cause differences in determining what research will be considered under the global change rubric. In this light, the panel believed that some amount of research may be going on in China that is relevant, but that it is not being identified at this time as global change research by the Chinese themselves.
China is a good example of how nations respond to this global research agenda from the point of view of their own national interests. According to Ye Duzheng, chairman of the Chinese National Committee for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (CNCIGBP), Chinese research on global change will have a definite national focus. From the Chinese viewpoint, "global" change is too large a scale for their needs and current scientific and financial capacities. Hence, the main research objective for the CNCIGBP is to concentrate on areas that are of practical importance for China and of general importance to other countries—in particular, developing coun-
tries—and that are at the same time scientifically challenging. Specifically, China, like most countries, is concerned about the possible impact of climate change on economic development and on existing problems such as deforestation, soil erosion, and soil degradation.
Besides emphasizing the regional and local impacts of putative global environmental change, Chinese research also emphasizes studies of historical change and studies of land use problems that are ubiquitous both in China and globally. Studies of phenomena that impact the global environment—such as biogenic and industrial emissions—are apparently of lower priority. Data are not collected or presented systematically and, in some cases, are not made available for proprietary or policy reasons. The Chinese program makes its principal contribution to the international program through analysis of large-scale biophysical phenomena within China and also through analysis of historical changes in China's environment that reflect global and local changes.
Chinese global change research priorities focus on the question of what will be the impact of global change on China. The reverse question should be mentioned: what will be the contribution of China to global change? Although China's focus is practical given its population growth, current and projected industrial base, demands for fossil fuel, and rate of economic development, China's impact on global change is important to the international community. Even though China's basic global change research is expected to remain locally and regionally focused, important opportunities for international collaboration still exist that would increase China's and the international community's understanding of the causes and consequences of global environmental change.
CHINESE GLOBAL CHANGE PROGRAM
China has been involved in two major international global change programs (Figure 2-1) since their early stages: (1) the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), sponsored by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), which is devoted mainly to biological and chemical aspects of global change and (2) the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), jointly sponsored by ICSU and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which is devoted primarily to physical aspects of global change. Current Chinese plans for global change research have been developed for both of these activities (in contrast to the United States, where scientific committees and federal agencies have worked towards a single program). While these two programs do not represent all global change research programs,
their significance and the fact that China has established national committees for each of them makes these two programs the main focus in this report.1
Chinese National Committee for the IGBP
Organization and Membership
The Chinese National Committee for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (CNCIGBP) (Figure 2-2) was established in 1988 with the mission to organize and coordinate scientists and research communities in the study of global change. The China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), a nongovernmental umbrella or
ganization for professional scientific societies, is the official representative of China to ICSU and sponsor of the CNCIGBP. The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) acts as the committee's secretariat, which is located in the CAS Bureau of Resources and Environmental Sciences. It is important to note that the committee does not administer funding for global change research, nor does it have the authority to command a coordinated, centrally planned global change research agenda.
CNCIGBP membership includes all of those individuals who responded to an invitation sent to many organizations. As the global change program has evolved, membership has grown (from 23 in 1991 to 39 in 1992) to reflect a wider range of institutions, administrative systems (for example, ministries, CAS, State Meteorological Administration [SMA], and State Oceanographic Administration [SOA]), and additional leading figures in the Chinese scientific community. CNCIGBP membership is listed below:
Song Jian (honorary chairman), state councilor; director, State Science and Technology Commission (SSTC)
*Ye Duzheng (chairman), special advisor, CAS; director emeritus, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, CAS
*Chen Jiaqi, Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Water Resources (MOWR); Chinese Society of Hydraulic Engineering
*Chen Panqin (secretary general), Bureau of Resources and Environmental Sciences, CAS
Chen Qinglong, Bureau of Science and Technology, State Education Commission (SEDC)
Chen Shupeng, Institute of Geography, CAS; Geographical Society of China
Chen Yongning, Institute of Zoology, CAS; Ecological Society of China
Cui Haiting, Geography Department, Peking University; Geographical Society of China
*Deng Nan (vice chairman), vice director, SSTC
Ding Yihui, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences (CAMS), SMA; Meteorological Society of China
*Fang Weiqing, Department of Science and Technology for Social Development, SSTC
Fu Congbin, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, CAS, Meteorological Society of China
Guo Shiqin, Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)
Hong Yetang, Guiyang Institute of Geochemistry, CAS; Chinese Society of Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry
*Hu Dunxin, Ocean Circulation and Air-Sea Interaction Laboratory, Qingdao Institute of Oceanology, CAS; Society of Oceanology and Limnology
Huang Bingwei, Institute of Geography, CAS; Geographical Society of China
Li Wenhua, Commission for Integrated Survey of Natural Resources (CISNAR), CAS; China Research Society of Natural Resources
Li Yongqi, Department of Marine Biology, Qingdao University of Oceanography; Chinese Society of Oceanography
Lin Hai, Department of Earth Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)
Liu Tungsheng, director, Xi'an Laboratory for Loess and Quaternary Geology; Chinese Society of Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry
Liu Shu (vice chairman), CAST
Lu Jingting, Department of International Affairs, CAST
Lu Shouben, SOA; Chinese Society of Oceanography
Ma Yang, Department of Society Activities, CAST
Ouyang Ziyuan, Bureau of Resources and Environmental Sciences, CAS
Shen Qiuxing, MOA; Agricultural Society of China
Shen Shanmin, director, Institute of Applied Ecology, CAS; Soils Society of China
Sun Honglie (vice chairman), vice president, CAS; director, CISNAR, CAS; China Research Society of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Wang Lixian, Beijing Forestry University; Soil and Water Conservation Society of China
Wang Ren (vice chairman), NSFC
Xiao Xuchang, Institute of Geological Science, Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources (MOGM); China Research Society of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Xu Deying, Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry Science; Forestry Society of China
Yuan Daoxian, Guilin Institute of Karst Geology, MOGM; Geological Society of China
Zhang Shen, Institute of Geography, CAS; Chinese Society of Environmental Science
Zhang Xinshi, Institute of Botany, CAS; Botanical Society of China
Zhang Yue, Department of Rural and Forest Water Resources Protection, MOWR; Soil and Water Conservation Society of China
Zhang Zonghu, Institute of Hydrological Engineering, MOGM; Geological Society of China
Zhao Qiguo, Nanjing Institute of Soil Science, CAS; Soils Society of China
CNCIGBP Research Agenda
By September 1990, based on findings from pilot studies, the CNCIGBP had identified what kinds of global change were most important for China at present and in the near future. From this exercise, the committee reported its initial priorities and contributions to ICSU in the following IGBP core areas:
International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Core Project
Past Global Changes (PAGES) Core Project
Global Change in Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) Core Project
Biospheric Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle (BAHC) Core Project
Joint Global Ocean Flux (JGOFS) Core Project
Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) Core Project (proposed)
Global Analysis, Interpretation, and Modeling (GAIM) Special Committee
Regional Research Centers (RRCs)2
Data and Information Systems (DIS) for the IGBP
The Chinese also list the Chinese Ecological Research Network (CERN) as an IGBP activity, and so it will be addressed in more detail in Chapter 4 even though it is not directly subsumed under any of the previously mentioned IGBP core projects.
According to Ye Duzheng, research at CAS is being organized into three priority areas: (1) attention to sensitive zones and early detection of strong signals of global change (historical, present, and future); (2) human impacts on the environment and, as landscape changes, the effect on trace gas emissions; and (3) use of proxy data in the IGBP core project on Past Global Changes.
In May 1991, the CNCIGBP published its first issue of the Bulletin of the CNCIGBP, which is written in English and is designed to in
crease the information available about Chinese global change research (CNCIGBP 1991). The committee plans to publish the bulletin regularly. This publication is useful and will become even more valuable when the committee reports on project details, including the identification of investigators, responsible institutions, funding sources, duration, and project findings.
According to the bulletin, a nine-expert committee, chaired by Ye Duzheng, has been established to coordinate global change research programs in the Eighth 5-Year Plan (1991–1995). This committee will organize five scientific workshops to help implement the Chinese global change research program, and the following workshop topics have been identified:
Past global change in China. The objective will be to establish the conceptual model of past global change. Scientists will focus on three areas: (1) techniques and methods for extracting historical data and information and reconstruction of climate in China during the past 2,000 years; (2) definition of the possible global events and regional events in paleoclimate and environment series; and (3) studies of dominant factors and key interactive processes in past changes.
Climate change effects on terrestrial ecosystems. The objective will be to study global change mechanisms and interactions among the Earth's elements. Scientists will focus on two areas: (1) analysis of the effects of climate on terrestrial ecosystems based on various data, especially satellite data; and (2) theoretical analysis and numerical modeling of effects of climate on terrestrial ecosystems.
Impact of human activities on biological sources of trace gases, the water cycle, and energy exchange. The objective will be to study the nature and extent of the impact of human activities on the life-supporting environment. Scientists will focus on four areas: (1) comparative study of exchange processes of water, heat, and trace gases in natural and man-made ecosystems; (2) estimation of biomass and identification of key ecosystem processes and variables; (3) identification of trace gases produced by human activities; and (4) water cycle processes in the soil-vegetation-atmosphere system under different land uses.
Sensitive areas of environmental change and detection of early signals of significant global change. The objective will be to seek early strong signals of global change in ecologically sensitive zones. Scientists will focus on four areas: (1) detection techniques and methods; (2) intensive observation in areas sensitive
to climate change; (3) calibration of remote sensing data; and (4) analysis of land-surface features by using airborne remote sensing techniques and satellite images.
Characteristics and trends of changes of the life-supporting environment in China. The objective will be to study methods of predicting global change in the life-supporting environment. Scientists will focus on three areas: (1) predictability of global change; (2) development of regional models to describe and interpret changes in climate and ecosystems (which are reflected in the data analyses of the previous topics); and (3) development of dynamic models of environmental change. This workshop topic is also a national key project (see below).
Under the Eighth 5-Year Plan, one of the most significant activities under the Chinese global change program is a national key project to study changes in the life-supporting environment in the next 20 to 50 years. (The life-supporting environment is a Chinese term that is defined as the composition of four elements: atmosphere, terrestrial water, vegetation, and soil.) Because the time scale is 50 years, the natural processes leading to soil property changes will not be considered; instead, the Chinese will study only human activities causing those changes. Because natural vegetation change is also a slow process (although quicker than that of soil), research will concentrate on sensitive or transitional zones (sections or zones between different climate regions) and will include the study of human influences on the processes of vegetation changes. The project was selected by SSTC, and Ye Duzheng is the lead scientist.
The CNCIGBP provided the panel with the following list of 32 projects relevant to the IGBP that were developed between 1981 and 1990:3
Study of the air-sea interaction in the tropical west Pacific region and its impact on annual climate change in China
Sino-Japanese cooperative study of the Kuroshio Ocean Current
Study of the Chinese Quaternary coastline and forecasting of sea-level and coastline changes
Study of aerosols over the Antarctic Ocean
Experimental observation and case study of comprehensive development and administration of eco-environmental resources in typical Chinese regions
Development of the Loess Plateau and global environmental change
Study of the content and distribution of carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen in China's lithosphere
Development and application of remote sensing techniques
Farming and herding experiments for developing and using a saline lake productively
Study of the reasons for and forecast of drought and flood in the Yangtze and Huanghe River Basins in China (1988–1992)
Study of the biogeochemistry of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus in Haihe River basin in China
Preliminary study of China's sea level and climatic change: their trends and impacts (1988–1992)
Comprehensive land restoration experiment on the Sanjiang Plain in northeast China
Study of regional comprehensive development and land restoration strategies in southwest China
Prevention and treatment technologies for acid rain
Study of environmental background concentrations and capacities of trace gases
Comprehensive scientific study of the Karakorum-Kunlun Mountain region
Study of the comprehensive regional development and land restoration in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
Study of the environmental impacts of the Three Gorges Project and possible countermeasures
Study of the geochemistry of the boundary layer between sediment and water in lakes
Structural composition and evolution of lithosphere in southeast China and adjacent seas
Study of the numerical forecasting of marine environment
Physical model of rainfall penetration, water transport in aeration zone, and the effects on bio-environment
Pilot project demonstrating the influence of environmental and geological factors in land development in the regions around the Bohai Sea
Study of Quaternary paleo-ocean of the South China Sea
Sino-Japanese cooperative program on the atmosphere-land surface processes experiment (HEIFE) in the Heihe River region in Gansu Province (1987–1991) and the Sino-Japanese Cooperative Program (1990–1994)
Generating mechanisms of red tide along China's southeast coast (1989–1992)
Development of ecological models of grasslands in north China (1989–1992)
Study of water-saving agriculture on the North China Plain (1992-)
Measurement and prediction of changes and trends in the life-supporting environment in the next 20 to 50 years in China (1992-)
Dynamic processes and environmental changes since 150,000 years before present along a corridor from Xinjiang to the Yellow Sea Continental Shelf (1992-)
Changes in atmospheric ozone and its influence on global environment (1992-)
Chinese National Climate Committee
Organization and Membership
In 1987, the SSTC established the Chinese National Climate Committee (CNCC) (Figure 2–3). The committee's secretariat, directed by Wang Yuanzhong, is administered by SMA. Currently, the committee has 42 members:
Zou Jingmeng (chairman), SMA
Cao Jiping, SOA
Cao Pifu, SOA
Cen Jiafa, MOGM
Chen Guofan, SMA
*Chen Panqin (secretary general), Bureau of Resources and Environmental Sciences, CAS
Chou Jifan, SEDC
*Deng Nan (vice chairman), SSTC
*Fang Weiqing, Department of Science and Technology for Social Development, SSTC
Fang Zongyi, SMA
Feng Sijian, SSTC
Fu Baopu, SEDC
Gao Youxi, SEDC
Gan Zijun, CAS
Guo Dexi, SOA
*Hu Dunxin, Qingdao Institute of Oceanology, CAS
Jiang Youxu, Ministry of Forestry (MOF)
Li Zechun, SMA
Lin Jisheng, State Planning Commission (SPC)
Liu Chunzheng, MOWR
Liu Yubin (deputy secretary), SMA
Lu Jiuyuan (vice chairman), MOWR
Qiu Guangwen, Climate Bureau, Headquarters of the General Staff [military]
Shen Guoquan, SMA
Shen Wenxiong, NSFC
Tang Maocang, CAS
Tao Shiyan, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, CAS
Wang Juemou, MOWR
Wang Shaowu (vice chairman), SEDC
Wang Yangzu (vice chairman), National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA)
Wang Yuanzhong, SMA
Weng Duming, SMA
Wu Baozhong, NEPA
Yang Wenhe (vice chairman), SOA
*Ye Duzheng (vice chairman), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, CAS
Yu Zhouwen, SOA
Zeng Qingcun (vice chairman), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, CAS
Zhang Jiacheng, SMA
Zhang Jijia (secretary, vice chairman), SMA
Zhang Qiaoling, MOA
Zhou Xiuji, SMA
The CNCC determines project activities based on proposals submitted by researchers, which are then submitted for funding through a variety of organizations, for example, CAS, NSFC, or SSTC. Mechanisms for funding are as varied as the proposals, and depend on the selection criteria of funding organizations.
A panel of experts under the CNCC has produced a compilation of Chinese climate research in a report entitled Climate (SSTC 1990), which is available in an English-language abridged version entitled Climate (abridged). The publication provides chapters about China's climate, climate resources, major climate problems affecting economic development, past climate and possible climate changes up to the year 2050, and recommendations for response strategies.
The overall Chinese climate research program is characterized as ''based on observational facts obtained by modern means and dynamic numerical simulation approach ... with a view to predicting its variation.'' It is reported that
China possesses abundant climate data in the historical records of its ancient observatories and in other kinds of writings that can serve as the valuable means of studying its long-term evolution.... [It] is still backward in modern observational facilities, lacks high-speed communication equipment and powerful huge-sized computers, and there is chaos in the management of climatic data kept by different departments (SSTC 1990).
The Chinese acknowledge that these institutional inefficiencies and limited infrastructure impede the progress of climate research.
CNCC Research Agenda
A panel of experts under the CNCC has also produced the "Outline of the National Climate Program of China (1991–2000)" (CNCC 1990) to describe the overall nature and objectives of climate research in China. The outline presents the Chinese national climate program, which consists of five subprograms parallelling the WMO climate programs:
Climate data. This subprogram is located at the SMA National Meteorological Center and is concerned with collecting compatible national data sets and improving monitoring. The CNCC's outline clearly identifies the problems with data quality, lack of compatibility, disorganized and duplicating data collection and monitoring activities among separate administrative systems, and the need for a
Climate Research This subprogram is located at the CAS Institute of Atmospheric Physics and is concerned with modeling and numerical simulation, and observational programs. The research subprogram at the CAS Institute of Atmospheric Physics includes WCRP radiation projects involving (a) a baseline surface radiation network and (b) a western North Pacific cloud radiation experiment, a WCRP modeling experiment on climate change involving (a) a 2-level general circulation model (GCM), (b) a 9-level GCM, and (c) a 4-level ocean GCM model, and numerical simulation projects. The Sino-Japanese HEIFE collaboration (Chapter 4) is considered a Global Energy and Water Experiment (GEWEX) under WCRP, which has been combined recently with the IGBP Biospheric Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle (BAHC) Core Project. The leading institute for the HEIFE experiment is the CAS Lanzhou Institute of Plateau Atmospheric Physics.
Tropical Oceans Global Atmosphere (TOGA) This subprogram (Chapter 4) is located at SOA and is concerned with data and modeling describing the coupling between ocean and atmosphere in the tropics. SOA's work includes (a) observation systems, (b) TOGA-Monsoon climate research, and (c) monitoring of El Niño events.
Climate Application This subprogram is located at CAMS and is concerned with the use of climate resources.
Climate Impact This subprogram is located at the NEPA Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES) and is concerned with the effects of climate variation and change. Specifically, CRAES will be studying trends and impacts of past climate and greenhouse gases.
National Climate Change Coordination Group
The National Climate Change Coordination Group (NCCCG) was established in 1990 by the State Environmental Protection Commission (SEPC) of the State Council and is responsible for policy on climate change issues and interagency coordination. The group meets only as needed, usually not more than two to three times a year. Under the chairmanship and administration of SSTC (see Chapter 3), the group has four vice chairmen (the SMA administrator, NEPA administrator, SSTC vice chairman, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MOFA] vice minister) and has membership representing 16 organizations, for example, SSTC, NEPA, SEDC, CAS, MOFA, and SPC. Administration is through the SSTC Department of Science and Technology for Social
Development, and the group's secretariat is at SMA, under the directorship of Liu Jibin, deputy director of SMA.
The NCCCG has four working groups that parallel the ones of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): (1) scientific assessment (lead agency is SMA), (2) impacts assessment (NEPA), (3) response strategies (SSTC), and (4) international climate change agreement negotiations (MOFA). The working group on climate impacts published a paper, "Impact of Human Activities on Climate in China" (NCCCG 1990) for the Third Plenary Conference of the IPCC Second Working Group. The paper covers impacts on agriculture, forestry, water resources, and energy.
The panel does report on the newly established international program on the human dimensions of global change in Chapter 4.
Activities related to regional research centers are reported under the System for Analysis, Research, and Training section in Chapter 4.
The ICSU Panel on World Data Centers (WDC) manages about 40 centers that are distributed among five host countries that maintain them: WDC-A in the United States, WDC-B in the former Soviet Union, WDC-C1 in Europe, WDC-C2 in Japan, and WDC-D in China. WDCs collect, distribute, and archive data that provide baseline information for disciplinary research and for monitoring changes in the geosphere or biosphere (ICSU 1992).
Even though WDC-D for atmosphere is located at SMA, CAS is the secretariat for WDC-D activities. It should be noted that Chinese scientists not affiliated with SMA have reported being charged for WDC-D atmospheric data handled by SMA.
Some of these projects are detailed in later chapters and appendices.