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China

China Environment Stats

Definitions

  • Current issues: This entry lists the most pressing and important environmental problems. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry:
    Acidification - the lowering of soil and water pH due to acid precipitation and deposition usually through precipitation; this process disrupts ecosystem nutrient flows and may kill freshwater fish and plants dependent on more neutral or alkaline conditions (see acid rain).
    Acid rain - characterized as containing harmful levels of sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide; acid rain is damaging and potentially deadly to the earth's fragile ecosystems; acidity is measured using the pH scale where 7 is neutral, values greater than 7 are considered alkaline, and values below 5.6 are considered acid precipitation; note - a pH of 2.4 (the acidity of vinegar) has been measured in rainfall in New England.
    Aerosol - a collection of airborne particles dispersed in a gas, smoke, or fog.
    Afforestation - converting a bare or agricultural space by planting trees and plants; reforestation involves replanting trees on areas that have been cut or destroyed by fire.
    Asbestos - a naturally occurring soft fibrous mineral commonly used in fireproofing materials and considered to be highly carcinogenic in particulate form.
    Biodiversity - also biological diversity; the relative number of species, diverse in form and function, at the genetic, organism, community, and ecosystem level; loss of biodiversity reduces an ecosystem's ability to recover from natural or man-induced disruption.
    Bio-indicators - a plant or animal species whose presence, abundance, and health reveal the general condition of its habitat.
    Biomass - the total weight or volume of living matter in a given area or volume.
    Carbon cycle - the term used to describe the exchange of carbon (in various forms, e.g., as carbon dioxide) between the atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial biosphere, and geological deposits.
    Catchments - assemblages used to capture and retain rainwater and runoff; an important water management technique in areas with limited freshwater resources, such as Gibraltar.
    DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane) - a colorless, odorless insecticide that has toxic effects on most animals; the use of DDT was banned in the US in 1972.
    Defoliants - chemicals which cause plants to lose their leaves artificially; often used in agricultural practices for weed control, and may have detrimental impacts on human and ecosystem health.
    Deforestation - ...
    Full definition
  • International agreements > Party to: This entry is derived from Geography > Environment > International agreements, which separates country participation in international environmental agreements into two levels - party to and signed, but not ratified. Agreements are listed in alphabetical order by the abbreviated form of the full name.
  • International agreements > Signed, but not ratified: This entry is derived from Geography > Environment > International agreements, which separates country participation in international environmental agreements into two levels - party to and signed, but not ratified. Agreements are listed in alphabetical order by the abbreviated form of the full name.
STAT AMOUNT DATE RANK HISTORY
Current issues air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; China is the world's largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification; trade in endangered species 2013
International agreements > Party to Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling 2013
International agreements > Signed, but not ratified none of the selected agreements 2013

SOURCES: CIA World Factbooks 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Citation

Did you know

  • China ranked first for biodiversity > mammal species, threatened amongst Cold countries in 2013.
  • China ranked first for climate change > CO2 emissions > kt globally in 2010.
  • China ranked first for climate change > CO2 emissions from electricity and heat production, total > million metric tons amongst Emerging markets in 2011.
  • China has had the highest climate change > CO2 emissions from solid fuel consumption > kt since 1986.

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