At the same time the country struggles to cope with floods, the southern provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi are facing searing temperatures and drought. China, which is fast overtaking the US as the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases, sees global warming as at least partly responsible for the weather extremes, which it says will become more frequent. Beijing points to far lower per capita emissions, however, and insists it will not consider a cap on carbon emissions until Washington does the same.
As it happens, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, whose concern over the seriousness of global warming differentiates him from most of President Bush's cabinet, is currently in China, visiting the northern Tibetan Plateau, which Chinese officials say is warming faster than anyplace on earth. Fast receding glaciers in the region threaten the water supplies for millions of Chinese.