Extreme droughts could more than triple crop losses in northeast China, a McKinsey study says.

Rie Jerichow03/12/2009 13:00
Recently, two studies have focused on the impact of climate changes in China. Both agree that the world’s number one emitter of greenhouse gases will experience unstable weather and a dramatic drop of major crops production in the future.

The Chinese grain production is likely to drop ten percent when temperature rises by one degree Celsius. The rice growing period of China will generally shorten seven to eight days if temperature rises one degree Celsius.

That will lower the quality of rice, and if current grain production mechanism will not change up to 2030, the production potential of crop farming will drop five to 30 percent, says Zheng Guoguang, head of the China Meteorological Administration, in an article published on the agency’s website.

“If extreme climatic disasters occur twice or more within five years – for example, major drought over two or three years – then the impact on our country’s economic and social development would be incalculable,” writes Zheng, according to Reuters.

It is imperative to take active and effective measures to tackle climate change, the article on the China Meteorological Institute website concludes.

Another McKinsey & Co. study estimates that extreme drought caused by a “high climate change scenario” could more than triple crop losses in northeast China to 13.8 million metric tons, or 12 percent of the total, by 2030. This scenario assumes a doubling in severity and frequency of extreme drought, it says in the report, according to Bloomberg.

However, the accuracy of predictions made so far ahead is difficult to judge, says Ma Wenfeng, a researcher at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Ltd., according to the news agency.

“For a country the size of China, it’s difficult to tell whether certain weather trends will reduce or increase grains output in 50 years… Some places may have reduction while other areas which previously might not be suitable for grain production can become grain producer,” Ma Wenfeng says, according to Bloomberg.