Climate change is a globalized situation and it will affect everyone who lives on this planet. When I was a child, this was the first globalized environmental issue I learned about and it is commonly everlasting. To be honest, people like to get used to it and mention the word “climate change” in class, and put it in our textbook as a concept. However, it has absolutely changed our life slowly day by day.
I was born in China and lived there for about 17 years. China is a large country physically, with large land and a large number of people and it is located in the north of the earth. As the third-largest country in the world in terms of land area, it has a diverse climate and terrains, which means one little change in the climate can cause some huge reactions in many ways. The general trend of climate change is warming year by year due to the release of carbon dioxide. In terms of geography, the warmer climate will cause drought. The negative change in the environment will cause damage to agriculture. Then multiple bad results in economics will follow. An unstable society definitely makes the situation worse. The change in climate is so small that you can not feel it in days, but if we use the year as the scale and check the data, we will find the climate is actually rising. In the last ten decades, the average warming of land areas in China was 0.9°C – 1.5°C, and the coastal sea level rose at a rate of 2.9 mm/a over the period 1980 to 2012, also increasing the frequency of regional extreme weather and climate events.
The biggest challenge is how to deal with issues caused by climate change. Agriculture, economic, political, people and society, all these terms are relatives and affect each other. In agriculture, climate change has caused the lower yields and quality of some crops, lower quality of arable land, higher fertilizer and water costs, and increased agricultural disasters. Warmer environments help increase agricultural pests and damage further. In China, there is a multi-decade infrastructure mega-project called the South-North water transfer Project. It means the extraction of abundant water resources from China’s Jianghuai River Basin to North and Northwest China. However, under the impact of climate change, the water area shrinks further, the average annual evaporation in each basin increases, and the adjustable water volume decreases compared with the planning period. In human health, the heat-waves and high temperatures brought by climate change provide a more suitable environment for germs and parasites, damage human immunity and resistance to diseases. In 1998, Shanghai experienced 4 heat waves. The total number of deaths during a heatwave can be two to three times higher than during a non-heatwave. What’s more, the direct economic losses due to climate change have a clear upward trend. Since the 21st century, the direct economic losses caused by meteorological disasters in China are equivalent to about 1% of GDP, which is 8 times higher than the global average during the same period. From 1990 to 2013, the average annual direct economic losses from meteorological disasters have increased 2.6 times compared to 1965-1989. Since 1989, it has increased 2.6 times.
We might not have much of a chance to feel the big change due to global warming at the country level, but when I look back, I actually feel the change. I lived in Guangdong when I was 5. compared to that year it is, now harder to get cold in winter, or I can say, harder to enter the winter. The weather in Guangdong is changing everyday. Yesterday it was almost 20 degrees, but the next day it was 5 degrees. It happened during the whole winter. I remember there was a year I still wore a short-sleeved shirt in January. The days I take my coat out are decreasing. But the temperature often changes in a day which is when I generally get a bad cold. This is not a big deal but in my opinion, it might be the most direct way to feel the climate change for normal people.
Tan Xianchun, Gu Baihe, Wang Yi. Impact Analysis and Countermeasures for Climate Change on Long-term Development of China[J]. Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2017, 32(9): 1029-1035