Since approximately the 4th century BCE, the area of settlement near the mouth of the river on the Yangtse River Delta of East China has been known as Shanghai. The global city of Shanghai is now the largest city in the People’s Republic of China with a population recently estimated to have exceeded 23 million (China Daily, 23/2/2011).
The Yangtse Delta also includes the densely populated cities of Jiangsu province such as Nanjing, Suzhou, and Wuxi, as well as Hangzhou in the Zhejiang Province. Hence as the Yangtse and its tributaries flow through this vast fertile delta region into the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, they pass through one of the most intensively populated zones on earth.
In 2008 Southern China was inundated with severe Winter snowstorms, while in 2011 the entire Yangtse Delta region is in a state of severe drought. (The Guardian, 1/6/2011) and Shanghai is experiencing its most extreme drought in 138 years (Shanghai People’s Daily, 13/5,/2011). Meanwhile the glaciers of the Tanggula Mountains at the source of the Yangtse, like others of the world’s glaciers, are melting rapidly.
In 2008 the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China released a report that acknowledged the global anthropogenic causes of climate change, and outlined its policies for addressing these problems. You can find this report here.