If Earth Heats up 4 Degrees. China. Is. Screwed.

Monday, November 26, 2012 1:58
Posted in category Uncategorized

Over the last several years, the more time I have spent researching (and programming) the issues that China is facing when it comes to finding a balance between its economy, environment, and society, the more I am convinced that China is one going to be one of the hardest hit when issues of climate change (human related and otherwise).

So, when reading the World Bank’s recent report Turn Down the Heat Why a 4 Degree Warmer World Must Be Avoided (download here), I immediately thought two things (1)  I cannot believe they are ready to say (with certainty) 4 degrees by 2100 and (2) China is going to be screwed should that happen if that were to come true.

Highlighting their key findings below, the two that for me are where China will be most concerned are going to be the first and fourth.  Extreme weather patterns and the impact to agriculture of those weather patterns.

  • Extreme heat waves, that without global warming would be expected to occur once in several hundred years, will be experienced during almost all summer months in many regions. The effects would not be evenly distributed. The largest warming would be expected to occur over land and range from 4° C to 10° C. Increases of 6° C or more in average monthly summer temperatures would be expected in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East and parts of the United States.
  • Sea level-rise by 0.5 to 1 meter by 2100 is likely, with higher levels also possible. Some of the most highly vulnerable cities are located in Mozambique, Madagascar, Mexico, Venezuela, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
  • The most vulnerable regions are in the tropics, sub-tropics and towards the poles, where multiple impacts are likely to come together.
  • Agriculture, water resources, human health, biodiversity and ecosystem services are likely to be severely impacted. This could lead to large-scale displacement of populations and consequences for human security and economic and trade systems.
  • Many small islands may not be able to sustain their populations.

Both of which China is already wrestling with, and while the growing amount of arid land and the growth in drought regions have both been an issue that has already displaced hundreds of thousands, the warming climate will only make matters worse.

Where this becomes a problem for China at a level that I would say is far more dangerous than for India, US, EU, etc is the simple fact that the Chinese population has expectations now.  Expectations that the economy will hum along and their property prices will be maintained.  Expectations that the price of goods will remain relatively stable, and over time will improve in availability, quality, and safety.

Expectations that will be very difficult to keep in China should the Earth warm 4 degrees.

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