If heatwaves sweep across the country, China will suffer the economic impact of the extreme heat. Some cities are on high alert for temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, while many cities across the country are likely to exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This extreme heat wave will have economic repercussions due to power rationing, reduced crop yields, and impacts on deliveries and other outdoor workers. .
Extreme heat is raging in China, making it difficult for people and businesses to carry out their daily activities. More than 600 million people have been affected, and some cities have reported deaths from heatstroke. Heat issues not only affect human economic activity, but can also affect infrastructure such as dams, which will face pressures as glaciers melt.
The power grid is already under strain due to increased demand for air conditioning in homes and offices. Zhejiang Province has already asked its households and businesses to conserve electricity and has rationed electricity for energy-intensive firms, including textile manufacturers and printers. Electricity consumption reached record highs in Shandong and Henan provinces due to increased use of air conditioners. The limited energy supply, combined with targeted emission reductions, will reduce the amount of electricity available to homes and businesses that need electricity.
China has a recent experience with electricity shortages. The shortage arose in September last year due to a lack of electricity to meet demand. Many factories have been forced to reduce hours or even shut down completely to meet energy restrictions. As a result, almost half of China’s industrial activity was negatively impacted, resulting in a slowdown in economic growth by perhaps 1 percent or more. Electricity shortages have also negatively impacted global supply chains, as many firms experienced significant delays in getting needed goods for production and sales, increasing costs for these firms and their end customers.
Extreme heat will also affect yields. BUT study McKinsey and Company found that climate change in China, including extreme heat, is likely to reduce wheat, corn and rice yields by 10 percent per year. Heat waves affect crop health and productivity, as well as the length of the growing season and crop maturation patterns. Fear of a poor harvest in China has already driven pork prices up. Soybean meal, corn and wheat are the main feeds for pigs, whose growth is under threat due to higher temperatures. China produces a quarter of the world’s grain, so reducing growing capacity in China will reduce domestic and global food security.
Delivery and other outdoor workers were also affected by the intense heat. Hot conditions increase the likelihood of heat stroke in outdoor workers. One study by Luke Parsons, climate researcher at Duke University, and colleagues found that global heat-related labor losses have increased by more than 9 percent over the past 40 years. Other study Rachel Licker, chief climate officer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and others have studied outdoor workers in the US to show that outdoor workers’ exposure to extreme heat will triple between 2000 and 2050, resulting in economic losses. income-related, by 3.7 percent. .
The heat also reduces the overall productivity of not only outdoor workers, but office workers as well, as temperatures rise slightly in some workplaces to offset high indoor cooling costs. One study in Australia on both indoor and outdoor workers found that extreme heat resulted in a loss of 1.2 percent of productive income per year. In this study, 70 percent of respondents were less productive, and 7 percent were away at least one day a year due to the heat.
The frequency and intensity of extreme heatwaves are expected to increase in the future as the global mean temperature rises. The northeastern and eastern regions of China are likely to be the most affected, with heat intensity expected to increase by more than 5 degrees Celsius in conditions of high temperature and humidity by the end of the century. However, all regions will see a rise in temperature of more than 2 degrees Celsius, according to a scientific model led by Huopo Chen, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Assessing the various sources of economic loss due to heat waves in China is a very difficult task, as many factors need to be measured simultaneously. The decline in productivity is also affecting the rest of the world as China is well integrated into global supply chains. One important conclusion to be drawn from studying the economic impacts of extreme heat is that countries must make intensive efforts to slow or stop the climate change that causes extreme heat.