China's Basic National Circumstances of Climate Change
1)Inferior Climatic Conditions and Severe Natural Disasters
China has relatively harsh climatic conditions. Most of China has a continental monsoon climate with more drastic seasonal temperature variations compared with other areas at the same latitude such as North America and West Europe. In most part of China, it is cold in winter and hot in summer with extremely high temperature. Therefore, more energy is consumed to maintain a relatively comfortable room temperature. Precipitation in China is unevenly distributed both seasonally and spatially. Most of the precipitation occurs in summer and varies greatly among regions. Annual precipitation gradually declines from the southeastern coastal areas to the northwestern inland areas. China frequently suffers from meteorological disasters, which are unusual worldwide in terms of the scope of affected areas, the number of different disasters, the gravity of disaster and the massiveness of affected population.
China is a country with a vulnerable ecosystem. The national forest area for 2005 is 175 million hectares and the coverage rate is just 18.21 percent. China 's grassland area for the same year is 400 million hectares, most of which are high-cold prairie and desert steppe while the temperate grasslands in northern China are on the verge of degradation and desertification because of drought and environmental deterioration. China 's total area of desertification for 2005 is 2.63 million square kilometers, accounting for 27.4 percent of the country 's territory. China has a continental coastline extending over 18,000 kilometers and an adjacent sea area of 4.73 million square kilometers, as well as more than 6,500 islands over 500 square meters. As such, China is vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise.
3)Coal-Dominated Energy Mix
China 's primary energy mix is dominated by coal. In 2005, the primary energy production in China was 2,061 Mtce, of which raw coal accounted for as high as 76.4 percent. For the same year, China 's total primary energy consumption was 2,233 Mtce, among which, the share of coal was 68.9 percent, oil 21.0 percent, and natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and solar energy 10.1 percent; while the shares of coal, oil, and natural gas, hydropower and nuclear power in the world primary energy consumption were 27.8 percent, 36.4 percent and 35.8 percent, respectively. Because of the coal-dominated energy mix, CO2 emission intensity of China 's energy consumption is relatively high.
China has the largest population in the world. In 2005, the population of China 's mainland was 1.31 billion (not including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), accounting for 20.4 percent of the world total. China is still at a low level of urbanization, with a huge rural population of about 750 million, and in 2005, urban population accounted for only 43 percent of the national total population, lower than the world average. Huge population results in huge employment pressure, with annually more than 10 million new labor forces in the urban areas and about 10 million new rural labor forces moving to the urban areas as a result of the urbanization process. Due to the huge population, China 's per capita energy consumption is still at a low level. In 2005, China 's per capita commercial energy consumption was about 1.7 tce, only 2/3 of the world average, let alone the average level of the developed countries.
5)Relatively Low Level of Economic Development
China is currently at a relatively low level of economic development. In 2005, the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of China was about US$1,714 (based on exchange rates of the same year), only about 1/4 of the world average level. Remarkable disparity in economic development exists among different regions of China. In 2005, the per capita GDP of the eastern areas of Chin was US$2,877, while that of the western areas was US$1,136, only 39.5 percent of the former. The income disparity between rural and urban residents is also great. In 2005, the per capita disposable income of the urban residents was US$1,281, while that of the rural residents was only US$397, equivalent to 31.0 percent of the former. Furthermore, poverty eradication is still a huge challenge for China. By the end of 2005, the poverty-stricken people in China 's rural areas numbered 23.65 million, with the per capita annual pure income less than 683 yuan.