‘Profound’ impact of climate change

“As global warming accelerates, the impact of climate change on China is profound” said Jia Xiaolong, deputy director of the National Climate Centre. 

“In recent years, extreme weather and climate events have occurred frequently, affecting a wide range of areas, and causing severe disasters.”

Jia was speaking at a press conference on Monday, 6 February, held by the centre to mark the release of the China Climate Bulletin, 2022.

The bulletin stated that spring, summer and autumn temperatures were the highest since records began. There was both severe flooding and drought, with overall precipitation the lowest since 2012.

Experts from the centre also looked ahead, predicting that the climate situation in China will be “relatively poor” in 2023. Extreme weather is likely to occur frequently and be severe, they said.

In the central and eastern regions, the probability of extreme high temperature events such as that experienced in summer 2013 may rise to 50% by 2035.

In the country as a whole, the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation will increase, they said.

The probability of compound extreme events – occurring simultaneously or consecutively – will continue to increase. Affected by climate change, the possibility of “low-probability, high-impact” events will also increase, Jia said.

At the press conference, the National Climate Centre made regional suggestions.

The south should be alert to more high temperatures in summer and ensure power supply during peak consumption (when air conditioners run full tilt). Coastal areas should focus on strengthening typhoon defences. The north should take precautions against heavy rains and floods. While the west should reduce the risk of “geological disasters” caused by heavy rainfall, probably referring to mudslides and landslides.

“Individuals are not only contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, but also victims of the increasing extreme weather and climate events,” said Jia, adding that it is necessary to encourage individuals to switch to green consumption patterns and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.

Jia also highlighted the importance of raising public awareness on disaster risk reduction and climate change response. “Everyone should understand the meaning of the weather disaster warning information issued by the government, what countermeasures should be taken, and the location of nearby shelters.”

Read China Dialogue’s recent report on improving China’s extreme weather response.