Speaking last week, Chinese climate scientist Zheng Guogang told Xinhua news agency that climate change could be a "serious threat" to big infrastructure projects. He warned that temperatures in China are already far above worldwide averages, and that the country was already facing serious issues related to increased temperatures.
China, which is now the world's largest polluter, has not set a specific goal of cutting emissions, including some of the most harmful greenhouse gases. The country has repeatedly stated its goal remains growing its economy, while focus on thwarting the threat of global warming has been largely pushed to the sidelines.
The admission from a top Chinese official is rare, according to experts. The country has sought to downplay concerns from scientists around the world, despite international pressure to form climate pacts that directly address the threat of global warming and greenhouse emissions.
Speaking over the weekend, Zheng said China specifically will likely face increased pressure as theenvironment changes.Zheng warned China will likely face large droughts, increased rainfall during intense storms, and climate changes that willthreaten river flows and harvests. The Chinese official said scientists around the world should stand up for increased research on the issue and political officials should seek to address the issue immediately.
"To face the challenges from past and future climate change, we must respect nature and live in harmony with it," the Xinhua news agency quoted Zheng as saying.
The U.S. and China account for nearly 50 percent of all emissions. Both President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have struggled to reach agreement on how best to address the issue.