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Climate change fuelled storms, rising seas cost China $2.6 bln in 2013

by Reuters
Thursday, 20 March 2014 04:37 GMT

A view of flooded streets after rainstorms triggered by Typhoon Haiyan hit Sanya, in China's Hainan province, on November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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Climate change is behind worsening coastal damage that cost China billions and killed more than 100 people in 2013, the State Oceanic Administration says

BEIJING, March 20 (Reuters) - Climate change fuelled storm waves and rising sea levels cost China 16.3 billion yuan ($2.6 bln) and killed 121 people in 2013, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said.

China is the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases which scientists say is driving climate change.

Southern Guangdong province was hit hardest, recording 7.4 billion yuan worth of damage, the SOA said in a new report. Storm waves caused 94 percent of the destruction, it said.

Climate change-linked rising, warmer seas cause more frequent storms and typhoons, flood coastal areas, contribute to coastal erosion and salinate farmland, said SOA.

Average sea-levels in China have risen 2.9 millimetres on average every year since 1980, faster than global sea-level rises, said SOA.

"Sea temperature, air temperature, air pressure and monsoons are the main causes of the irregular sea-level changes," it said.

Temperatures in coastal zones in China have increased by 0.34 degrees Celsius per decade since 1980 and sea surface temperatures by 0.18 degrees, it said.

China plans to put in place a number of policies to protect itself from rising seas, which threaten megacities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin.

The government will solidify embankments in vulnerable areas, build submerged breakwater constructions and convert some coastal farmland.

China also aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP to 40-45 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. (Reporting by Stian Reklev and Kathy Chen; Editing by Michael Perry)

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