China vows to increase its ‘weather modification’ capabilities to better-control agriculture, disasters and ecosystems
- Beijing unveiled an ambition plan to boost its ability to modify the weather
- An artificial programme will be used on over 6million square kilometres of land
- By preventing draught and hails, it will increase harvest and restore ecosystems
- China claims its weather modification capabilities would be ‘advanced’ by 2035
China has pledged to boost its ability to modify the weather with artificial rain and snow to gain more control on its agriculture, natural disasters and ecosystems.
The ambitious plan would cover over 6million square kilometres of land (2.3million square miles) by 2025 with an extended weather programme, according to the country’s cabinet on Wednesday.
Beijing said its weather modification capabilities would reach an ‘advanced’ level by 2035, focusing on restoring ecosystems and minimising agricultural losses from natural disasters.
China pledges to boost its ability to modify the weather with artificial rain and snow to gain more control on its agriculture, natural disasters and ecosystems. FILE: Aerial view of a farmer drying straws in the field on October 29 in Ji’an, Jiangxi Province of eastern China
Earlier this year, China saw what state media called a ‘flood catastrophe’ as torrential downpours batter the country. The file picture taken on July 13 shows a swimmer wading through water in a local park due to heavy rains in Wuhan, Hubei Province of central China
China has frequently made use of cloud seeding technologies to relieve droughts or clear the air ahead of major international events.
It has also been building a weather modification system in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, Asia’s biggest freshwater reserve, with the aim of pumping large quantities of silver iodide into the clouds in a bid to increase rainfall.
According to the new cabinet plan released by the State Council, China will continue its artificial weather operations in key areas like the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, as well as the major ecological protection zones of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers.
An extended artificial rain and snow programme will be used 5.55million square kilometres (2.1million square miles) of land, said the policy guidelines.
An extended artificial rain and snow programme will be used 5.55million square kilometres (2.1million square miles) of land, said the policy guidelines. A woman poses for pictures at a park after it snowed in Jilin in north-eastern China’s Jilin province on November 20
China’s new plan of weather modification aims help restore the country’s ecosystems by maintaining reservation of water sources and providing liveable environments for wildlife
Anti-hail operations will also be carried out and protect areas covering at least 0.6million square kilometres (0.2million square miles) of land.
‘By 2035, our country’s artificial weather modification capabilities, impacting business, technology, and service, will reach the world’s advanced level,’ the statement added.
The plan will focus on revitalising rural regions by preventing drought and hails during harvest season and minimising losses from natural disasters to ensure a steady supply of agricultural products.
It also aims to help restore the country’s ecosystems by maintaining reservation of water sources and providing liveable environments for wildlife.
China will also build up its scientific capabilities and establish an experimental base and laboratory to improve its ability to induce or prevent rain, eliminate fog and improve air quality, it said.
Summer flooding has been an annual scourge in China since ancient times, often focused along the vast Yangtze basin that drains much of the central part of the country.
Earlier this year, China saw what state media called a ‘flood catastrophe’ as torrential downpours batter the country as multiple Chinese provinces entered ‘wartime mode’ to fight the flooding.
Apart from stepping up its ability to control weather, Beijing has vowed to address climate change by aiming to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
Calling for a ‘green revolution, Chinese President Xi Jinping made the bold promises during a speech to the UN General Assembly in September.
He added that the coronavirus pandemic had shown the urgent need to preserve the environment.
But the goal will be a challenge for China, which relies heavily for its electricity on coal, one of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels.
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