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China’s Historic Thumbs Up For Global Warming

Chinese Professor Xie Zhenghui, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences International Centre for Climate and Environmental Sciences has thrown a spanner into the UN summit on global warming by noting that during previous historic periods of warming, China has prospered. China has been taking notes and records of climate changes for centuries, with existing archives going back 3,500 years. These include noting the date each year that ice formed at the mouth of the Yellow River, in addition to flowering and seeding of a huge variety of plants. Records show that at the time of Confucius, an enormous bamboo forest existed where Shanghai is now and right along the Yangtze, and lush rainforest also thrived throughout the region. Temparatures during Confucius time peaked at 10.7 degrees celsius, the same as regional temparatures from 2001-2007.

The Shang Dynasty – 11.5 degrees C

The comments, based on additional research on a 1972 paper by Chinese meteorologist Zhu Kezhen, are of specific interest to the Chinese position on global warming as the strongly indicate a correlation between China’s properity and warmer temparatures. These date back to three previous highs and lows, all of which coincided with a rise and fall in China’s wellbeing. The earliest rise in temparatures were recorded between 1500BC and 1000BC and emcompassed the rise of the Shang Dynasty, where temparatures in the Yellow River area rose to 11.5 degrees. The Shang Dynasty saw the foundation of the Chinese civilisation and the invention of writing.

The Western & Eastern Zhou Dynasties – 8 degrees rising to 10.5 degrees C

As temparatures cooled dramatically from 1000BC onwards, the Shang Dynasty collapsed, with China riven by problems during the Western Zhou period, with invading Mongolian tribes destoying the then capital at Xi’an. Temparatures at this time had fallen to just 8 degrees on average. Rising again to 500BC to 10.5 degrees saw the coincides with the rise of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, a golden age of classical study and peace overseen by Confucius.

The Jin Dynasty & Warring States Period – 8.5 degrees C

As temparatures again dropped, a low point was again reached with the collapse of the Jin Dynasty and low temparatures to 8.5 degrees. This period coincided with centuries of various civil wars and general unrest throughout China.

The Tang Dynasty – 10.3 degrees C

Rising again, the Tang Dynasty developed, considered the peak of Chinese civilisation around 750AD. It was the most powerful dynasty in Chinese history and ushered in an era where China was estimated to be contributing @60% of global GDP. Mining, shipbuilding, textiles, ceramics and the arts all flourished as China strode the then global economy as a colossus.

The Southern Song Dynasty – 7.5 degrees C

As temparatures declined again, so did the fortunes of the Tang. Another low period in China’s fortunes arrived; the Southern Song Dynasty ushered in a period of civil war, invasion by the Mongols and internal strive about 1250AD.

From 1250AD until now average tempatatures in China have waxed and waned over smaller periods, ranging between 7.9 and 8.9 degrees. However, since the late 1980’s temparatures have again started to climb in China and are currently at a height previously only seen during the Tang. There is still some way to go before China hits the balmy days of 11.5 degrees enjoyed under the Shang. However, the statistics do represent the most ancient set of data the world possesses on global warming. Whether China will look to it’s historians, or to scientists, or a combination of both to determine what happens next may well influence how seriously the global community will address the issue of global warming.

This article was written by Chris Devonshire-Ellis for the website Chinaexpat.com. The website helps those working in China and living in China.

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