Documenting Climate Change

Standard Page - 2011-06-04
To awaken China and the world to the reality of climate change, Greenpeace is documenting the very real impacts that climate change has for people and the landscape. We are also investigating and exposing the causes of manmade climate change.

To awaken China and the world to the reality of climate change, Greenpeace is documenting the very real impacts that climate change has for people and the landscape. We are also investigating and exposing the causes of manmade climate change.

2009 July - Greenpeace bears witness to the impact of climate change on water sources at the headwaters of the Three Rivers.

Glaciers under threat

In 2006 and 2007, Greenpeace launched expeditions to the Himalayas, a crucial water supply for millions of people in China, India and Nepal. We documented significant retreat in the Rongbuk Glacier, by Mt. Everest and recorded stories of increasing water loss from the Tibetan villagers nearby.

In 2005, Greenpeace visited the source of the Yellow and the Yangtze Rivers, high up in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. What we found at the headspring of China’s key rivers was glacial retreat, desertification and extreme weather. Faced with threats to their traditional way of life, many herders and nomads have been forced to give up their yaks and sheep, and move into cement shanty towns.

Climate Change and Poverty

Greenpeace and Oxfam Hong Kong jointly released the Climate Change and Poverty report, which found that China's poverty-stricken areas are also the most vulnerable to climate change-caused disasters. Climate change is causing extreme weather to occur more frequently and more intensely. The people who suffer the most from these natural disasters are the people least able to cope – China's poor. Natural disasters, crop failures, droughts, infrastructure damage are all making it more difficult for people to climb out of poverty.

Case studies from Guangdong, Sichuan and Gansu provinces depict heart-breaking stories of families struggling to make a living amid difficult conditions.

Drought Relief – with the Sun

In the spring of 2010, southeastern and southwestern China was hit by one of the worst droughts in history. Greenpeace sent a Rapid Response team to Yunnan province, where they set up solar-powered water pumps for villages.

Bearing Witness: Dalian Oil Spill

In July 2010, an oil pipeline and tank exploded in Dalian Port, Liaoning province, causing the worst oil spill to affect China. Greenpeace was the first outside observer to arrive on the scene and provided round-the-clock independent photographs and assessments of the extent of the spill. Our rapid response team helped expose the severity of the spill, and with the expertise of oil spill specialist Dr. Rick Steiner, we found that the Chinese government had vastly underestimated the quantity of oil spilled – 1,500 tons versus at least 60,000 tons, possibly 90,000 tons. Greenpeace photographer Lu Guang won a World Press Photo Award for his coverage of the oil spill.

Head here and scroll to the bottom of the page to read our latest work on combatting climate change in China.

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