The impacts of climate change are already being felt. Average global temperatures have risen every decade since the 1970s. 2010 tied 2005 as the hottest year on record. Overall, the 10 hottest years on record have all occurred in the last 13 years. Extreme weather events – droughts, floods and major typhoons – are becoming more common and destroying farmlands. China's already stressed water resources are drying out even further. Glaciers, permafrost and sea ice are disappearing, while sea levels are rising and coral reefs dying. The impacts of climate change are already responsible for killing an estimated 315,000 people every year, and damaging ecosystems.
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The issue of climate change is more pertinent than ever, and yet the recent Durban climate change talks hardly gave us the decisive action required. In fact what was "achieved" was a ten-year delay in global greenhouse pollution reductions. This isn't good enough. Though it's a latecomer to industrialization, China's rapid economic development has made it the world's number one emitter of greenhouse gases. The booming economy has lifted millions out of poverty, but at huge environmental cost.