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Main Industrial Development Issues and Challenges

Climate change

China’s 2006 report on climate change acknowledges serious problems that the country will encounter. The biggest environmental challenge China currently faces is access to clean water. About 25% of the country's population now finds it difficult to get enough water for their daily needs, and global warming will likely increase that number as droughts worsen in the North and floods become more frequent in the South. Only 7 percent of the planet’s arable land is in China, but the country accounts for 25 percent of the world’s population. Climate change affecting arable land could seriously reduce China’s ability to feed itself. Consequently, ambitious environmental goals have been set and backed by political will at the highest levels of government. However, a lack of  capacity at provincial and local levels, environmental goals conflicting with economic motives, and lack of incentives for local officials to implement the regulations mean that stronger support and coordination are needed before China's environmental governance goals can be met. The Chinese government is increasingly concerned over the implications of climate change and has recently established a committee under the chairmanship of the Vice Premier to examine what measures China can take to both mitigate climate change and adapt to the climatic and environmental changes that will occur in the coming years.