Photo Credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
China is additionally impacted by the climate crisis. The Chinese economy is currently experiencing difficulties due to frequent flooding, heavy rains that cause landslides, heatstroke, and other problems, among others.
One of the countries with the highest population in the world has experienced many weather emergencies. China is currently experiencing the effects of this amid calls from the scientific community. Floods and landslides have been caused across many regions of China by the rainy season, which began in May. These have cost billions of yuan in property damage, human and animal deaths, and livestock losses.
There has been record-breaking rainfall in the Fujian province, as well as in some areas of the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, according to weather bureaus. Meanwhile, heat waves that have the potential to raise temperatures to 40 degrees Celsius have begun to develop in China’s north.
More than 900 million people in China, or more than 64% of the population, are suffering from the extreme heat. Only two provinces in China’s northeastern region have not issued high temperature warnings; all other provinces have done so. 84 cities issued the most severe red alerts last month.
China’s 71 weather stations have noted temperatures that surpass previous records. Four cities, one in Yunnan and three in the province of Hebei, had temperatures of 44 degrees Celsius or higher, according to the National Climate Center.
Covid response exacerbated by heat condition
The increase in Covid cases across the nation is already a pain, and the intense heat only makes matters worse for the populace. Testing facilities are struggling to accommodate everyone because they are overflowing with individuals.
Health workers who are fully outfitted with PPE suffer the most at the same time, especially because they must stand in line for a prolonged period of time outside to cater to patients. Online videos of frontliners passing out from the heat are widespread.
Heat waves have an adverse effect on power grids as well. There are also more frequent power outages. Because of this, crop production has declined, which will soon result in higher food prices. According to Yao Wenguang, a representative from the Ministry of Water Resources, the issue is far from solved.
“It is predicted that from July to August, there will be more extreme weather events in China, and regional flood conditions and drought conditions will be heavier than usual,” he said in an interview.
The most recent Blue Book on Climate Change was released by the China Meteorological Administration in August of last year. According to the report, China’s temperature is rising more quickly than the average for the world. China’s sea levels increased faster than the average global rate between 1980 and 2020. The nation’s surface temperature also rises by 0.26 degrees Celsius every ten years at the same time.
Johnny Chan, emeritus professor at the City University of Hong Kong, said, “We should be really concerned because these extreme weather events actually affect the most underprivileged, disadvantaged and vulnerable parts of the population — those in the rural areas, or those who don’t have air conditioning or live in very crowded conditions.”
What are the damages incurred
Natural catastrophes like cyclones, floods, and droughts cause $238 billion in damage to Chinese communities each year. The World Meteorological Organization claims that the figure is the highest in the Asia Pacific. Additionally, it is almost three times as much damage as Japan or India report each year. Heat-related fatalities have sharply increased. From 1990 to 2019, a mere three decades, the mortality rate quadrupled. Heat wave-related deaths reached a death toll of 26,800 in 2019.
Scientists and the government were alarmed by flooding in cities and other regions of the nation. “The central government and local governments started to be aware that climate change is such an enormous threat to society and its sustainable development,” said Liu Junyan, the leader of Greenpeace East Asia’s climate and energy project.
“Local governments still need to develop more detailed and tangible plans to implement this grand strategy,” Liu further stated.