Friday, July 06, 2007

China Conservation Announcement

This is very good news from what is now the world's largest contributor of greenhouse gases, recently replacing the United States on top of the dubious list.

China’s Challenge

Facing New Environmental Concerns, China Partners With the Nature Conservancy
The last aquatic mammal known to have gone extinct was the Caribbean monk seal, last seen more than 50 years ago. So when a scientific expedition to China in late 2006 declared the Yangtze River dolphin had followed in the monk seal’s footsteps, the news attracted worldwide attention.

The dolphin’s demise is among the latest warning signs that China’s environment is paying a heavy price for the country’s economic boom. Air and water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, and desertification are so severe they now threaten the country’s economic gains.

To counter those threats, the Chinese government has approved a five-year plan that calls for reducing energy consumption, conserving natural resources and protecting the environment. Last fall, The Nature Conservancy signed an agreement with China to help map out details on how to reach those goals.

The resulting “blueprint” will identify the country’s most biologically diverse areas and determine how to conserve them; help redesign and expand China’s reserve system; and build partnerships among conservation groups, universities and the government. “There’s really been a shift in the Chinese government’s way of thinking,” says Kate Krauss, the Conservancy’s associate director of resources for the Asia-Pacific region. “The blueprint is an illustration of that.”

—Courtney Leatherman