SHANGHAI: Extreme heat in China played havoc with crops and power supplies on Wednesday (Aug 24) despite lower temperatures in some regions, with authorities across the Yangtze river basin scrambling to limit the damage from climate change on crops and livestock.
The southwestern region of Chongqing has been hit especially hard by weeks of hot, dry weather. One resident, Zhang Ronghai, told Reuters that both his water and his power had been cut after a four-day mountain fire in the district of Jiangjin.
“People need to go to a power centre over 10km away to charge their phones,” Zhang said.
Chongqing’s agriculture bureau drew up emergency measures to protect livestock at more than 5,000 large-scale pig farms, which have faced “severe challenges” as a result of the heat, state media said.
Damage to crops and water scarcity could “spread to other food-related sectors, resulting in a substantial price increase or a food crisis in the most severe case”, said Lin Zhong, a professor at City University of Hong Kong who has studied the impact of climate change on agriculture in China.
China’s National Meteorological Center downgraded its national heat warning to “orange” on Wednesday after 12 consecutive days of “red alerts”, but temperatures are still expected to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in Chongqing, Sichuan and other parts of the Yangtze basin.
China has warned it is especially vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters are expected to proliferate in coming years as a result of more volatile weather.
As the drought drags on, state media have been turning their attention to the impact of climate change in other countries.
“Climate change is once again a wake-up call for the world,” said the official newspaper of China’s corruption watchdog on Tuesday, adding that damaging heatwaves and droughts have hit Europe, Africa and North America in recent weeks.