‘Climate change benefits China’ theory goes viral

An article, from a little-known account, claiming climate change will benefit China has gone viral on Wechat, receiving more views and “likes” than any other on climate change in memory.

This is as the country is still yet to recover from the shock inflicted by last month’s extreme rainfall and flooding in Henan province.

The article claims that because climate change is making large parts of China warmer and more humid, and historical records show a correlation between warmer climate and the ascendance of ancient dynasties, contemporary China will also enter a new epoch of great prosperity.

It claims the Paris Agreement is a European initiative because climate change is bad for Europe. China has played the game, the article says, so it can sell Europe carbon credits it accumulates from increased vegetation.

Serious media outlets have tried to dispel the misinformation. Multiple scientists interviewed by Zhishifenzi (The Intellectual) said the dominant change northern China has been experiencing in recent decades is increased volatility of precipitation. This results in floods like the one that befell the Taklamakan desert late last month, and droughts in other places. Increased rainfall and a warmer climate will also accelerate the thawing of snow, permafrost and glaciers, as well as water evaporation, decreasing long-term water supply and making places even more arid. 

China Environment News, a publication under the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, citing the recently published IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) assessment of the physical consequences of climate change, opposes the idea that China will benefit from climate change economically or otherwise. It says China has embraced the Paris Agreement out of a sense of responsibility as a large developing country, and a determination to work toward “a shared future for mankind”.

Read our recent coverage of the new IPCC assessment on climate change.