Causes and Effects of Global Warming on China

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Global warming has been an ever-growing problem since the industrial revolution in 1770 yet we have failed to act and now will have to take substantial action to solve the problem that we have created for ourselves. Global warmings effects hit especially hard on China due to the large air pollution because of their tremendously large industry, unfortunately China will most likely continue to face the harsh effects of global warming because of how much they rely on their non-renewable energy to fuel their economy and country. This report will explain how global warming works, its causes and the effects of global warming on China.

Global warming

Manmade global warming is caused by the combustion or burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy sources such as coal-oil and natural gas. When combusted these fossil fuels release greenhouse gas. These greenhouse gasses trap sun rays as figure 1 shows. The earth naturally warms naturally with the carbon cycle however with the rise of industry people have started to burn more fossil fuels contributing to a warmer climate. Although the earth needs greenhouse gasses to keep some of the sun rays in, so the earth doesn’t freeze, too much of these sun rays have been trapped inside our planet.

Different greenhouse gasses

There are many kinds of gasses released when fossil fuels are burned, some of the most common ones include carbon dioxide (Co2), methane (CH4), water vapor (H2O), nitrous oxide(N2O) and halocarbons which include hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC).


Halocarbons are very rare in the environment but are commonly used in industrial products such as aerosols, they can typically trap up to 10000 times more heat than carbon dioxide.


Methane is normally produced by the decay of vegetation in low oxygen environments such as wetlands and landfills, also from cows’ burps and manure. Methane can trap up to 25 times more heat than carbon dioxide

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is a by-product of fuel combustion in fossil fuels, most of the nitrous oxide comes from coal fired powerplants and can trap up to 100 times more heat than carbon dioxide


Sinks is nature’s way of removing natural greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. The main major sinks for greenhouse gasses, plants, the ocean and soil


Plants and some other organisms such as algae use sunlight to absorb the nutrients in carbon dioxide and water, this process is called photosynthesis and is where plants get their green pigment and how they generate oxygen as a by-product, 2s shown in figure 2.

The very underappreciated ocean

The ocean is a natural carbon sink that absorbs and stores the atmospheres greenhouse gasses. However, as a result of the ocean absorbing a ton of greenhouse gas it has become much hotter over the past century and has also increased in acidity which has led to a decrease in marine life.


Soil is much like the ocean in that it can absorb carbon dioxide but this this time the carbon helps the soil as it helps its fertility and releases nutrients for plant growth.

Chinas Geographical features

China is located in southeast Asia on the coast line of the Pacific Ocean. China is the world’s third largest country in size with an area of 9.6 million square kilometres and a coastline of 18000 kilometres. There are four regions in China, the north east, south, northwest and the Qinghai-Tibetan areas, as shown in figure 3. Because of the differences in landscape and climate, each region has a distinctive lifestyle

Red=Qinghai and Tibetan

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Green=North east

Blue=North west



Most of China is plateaus (fairly level high ground) plains, basins and mountains. Chinas land is very rugged. Mountainous land cover roughly two thirds of China. The mountain in China can also trap haze and smog as it cannot pass the high mountain ranges.

Main causes of global warming in China

China’s coal usage has officially gotten out of hand. China currently consumes more coal than United States, EU and Japan combined, China is dependent on coal to power their country. Every 10 weeks a new powerplant is opened in China that can power San-Diego. China has refused to spend money on new technology simply because of the expenses, each power plant can last up to 75 years. China is also the world’s largest mercury emitter; every year China releases 22.5 million tons of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere. If action is not taken China is expected to use 20% more coal power plants by 2025. In conclusion the reason why, China has a big problem with pollution is because of large economic and industrial growth. Below in this graphic organizer is some of the main causes of global warming.

Global warmings impact’s on China’s people

Global warming and its effects such as air pollution have many effects on Chinas people. Global warming has shown to increase natural disasters. A study by the IPCC’s third assessment report concludes that most extreme weather events including but not limited to heat waves, cyclones, droughts and strong rainfalls are increasing in Asia and in particular, China. This was also called an extreme climate phenomenon in the report. The Chinese meteorological Administration predicts that changing climate will cause increased dusts Troms in northern China, smaller amounts of rain fall in eastern and coastal areas and more intense snowstorms in central and southern China. The reason for most of this I the increase in sea surface temperature and the warmer temperatures also means that the sun will evaporate more water creating more hot air for the cyclones to use as fuel, increased evaporation also leads to drought and desertification. Rising sea levels also increases natural disasters and different places vulnerability to them because it allows cyclones to develop in higher location where usually people be safe, increasing people’s vulnerability to cyclones. 2004 had a vast range of different and increased amounts and power of natural disasters, this caused many people to lose their homes and loves and will continue to do so if the issue is not addressed.

Effect of global warming on Chinas environment

Chinas is one of earths most biodiverse countries, home to 17000 species of plants and different animals. Including 66 vertebrates, geneses and ancient fauna and flora. The fauna in Chinas environment however is being quickly destroyed due to not only the rapid industrialization and urbanization of animal habitats but also the pollution that these industries are creating causing a shift in natural climate. Chinas red list estimates that up to 30% of all organisms are endangered. The intergovernmental panel on climate change estimated that if the global temperatures continue to rise to over 1.5 degrees 30% of all global species could face extinction, mostly in Asia, and the global al temperature has already risen over 1 degree. Rain fall patterns in Chinas habitats for different animals has significantly decreased which not only threatens the animal’s food source but also its drinking supply. A large majority of endangered animals are endangered because of the sporadic and uneven distribution of water in China, this is a result of climate change. These animals’ habitats are also deteriorating at a significant rate causing an even faster decrease of fauna and flora.

Chinas government and politics method to reduce the effects of global warming

In the past China has sacrificed their environment for the economic growth of the country however in recent year China has become more serious about climate change. In 1978 China launched its “green wall project”. This was and still is an ecological engineering project to plant millions of trees along the 4506.163km of northern China increasing the world trees by 10%, The project will end in 2050 where an estimated 2050-60 billion trees will have been planted. However, this project has had to face a problem. People are planting large quantities of trees to try to stop desertification and decrease carbon emissions, but the later nobody takes care of the trees and they just die due to harsh conditions, furthermore these high masses of trees can exceed the land carrying capacity leading trees to their eventual death. Also because of the trees sucking all the moisture and nutrience out of the soil is even causing desertification in some regions. China has also implemented a population policy which is helping slow global warming by decreasing energy usage. China introduced the population policy in the 1970s and since then the population and birth rated have slowly decreased. Birth rate went down 1.8 percent in 1978 causing up to 400 million fewer births and 1.83 billion tons of carbon decreased.

Other effects of global warming

Another lesser known but very important effect of global warming is desertification. Desertification is when the sun sucks the moisture out of land causing erosion and dry land scape, uncovered land is especially venerable to desertification because nothing is stopping the sun from hitting the surface of the ground. An example of mass desertification is in the Australian outback. Deforestation and overuse of water are some of the most common causes of desertification, in China most desertification is due to wind erosion, water and soil loss and poor water management. Desertification affects mainly the Chinese citizens who are living in the Gobi Desert, it creates harder living conditions because of the decreasing soil nutrience allowing few to no crops to grow, the sandstorms also increase making it harder to keep raise and live of livestock in the desert.


25% of all global carbon emissions come from the meat industry, not only from the factories that hold the animals but also the animals themselves produce methane (cows especially). China consumes 28% of the world meat so a good idea is too start campaign for less meat or even implement meat free days just like China implemented drive free days. China should also increase the amount of nature in cities and try to reduce as much deforestation as possible, however this could be challenging as Chinas population is growing at a large rate and needs more room for the new citizens. Chinas government should try to support more recycling and reducing waste per capita campaigns. Household renewable energy also play a large factor for carbon emissions per capita.


In conclusion China has a lot of work to do to overcome this ever-growing issue and change must happen quicker that is currently, China plays a massive role in defining the state of the global climate because of their huge population and large energy consumption. However, they are headed in the right direction largely investing in renewable energy and alternatives methods to fix the climate disaster.

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Causes and Effects of Global Warming on China. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from
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