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China and Environmental Security in the Age of Consequences

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Global climate change is now one of the biggest challenges facing humankind in the twenty-first century. It is occurring at a time when China's economic rise is leading to substantial environmental problems combined with escalating demands on global resources. Many commentators have warned of impending economic collapse, rising social conflicts, and large-scale public health disasters.1 It is not only China's modernisation drive that is at stake. The spill-over effects across borders also present security concerns at the regional and global levels. From a global security perspective, the emerging environmental crisis is generally cast in highly negative terms. Limited attention has been given to the question of whether China can adapt. In the case of climate change this is now an urgent task. On the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau climate impacts pose significant security risks for China and the Asia region. The ability to adapt is of critical importance to the future sustainability of these ecosystems as well as the millions of people they serve.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2008

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