China is a large and densely populated country. It is geographically diverse and extensive, and as such, climatic conditions vary considerably across the country. The implications of climate change, undoubtedly, pose dangerous problems not only in China but also to the world at large. It has hindered economic growth in China because air pollution, to be specific, has had a substantial impact on the lives of people.
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Being a diverse country that is extremely populous, the climatic conditions vary. China relies enormously on ‘dirty’ coal, which has caused premature deaths because of respiratory problems brought about by polluted air. Carbon-intensive activities carried out in China have also caused cardio- respiratory problems to the people of China. The southern part of China experiences high temperatures, which have increased insect-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria.
Another effect climatic change has had on air in China is on the environment. Desertification has continuously increased substantially on the northern part. The existing deserts are rapidly expanding resulting to frequent sand tomes and prolonged droughts (Ligang and Wing 246).
Increased warmth and high temperatures have resulted in the melting of glaciers, thus increasing water levels in the seas and oceans.
These results to flooding and in the end people die and others displaced from their homes. The melting of the glaciers also means the many rivers dry up, since they form the principal source of rivers, which supply water to the cities. The increased temperatures have resulted to decreased rainfall and increased desertification.
This implies that agricultural produce of rice, corn and wheat will decrease as predicted by the Chinese government. The melting glaciers and increased water levels, resulting from air pollution, have made the Chinese cities vulnerable to floods, displacing millions of people. Increased droughts and lack of rain have led to infertility of soils, thus reduced agricultural produce (Jinhai et al 487).
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Climate change has had an impact on the Chinese’s soils. The Chinese government has reported increased soil pH. This is brought about by the increased temperatures and pollution of the soil by toxic wastes. Fertile soils are continuously being eroded, and the left layer exposed to unusually high temperatures and wastes that reduce its pH content. Climatic changes have also affected negatively on the soil by causing increased soil erosions.
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Soil moisture levels have also increased tremendously. Apart from the fact that the pH levels have gone up, moisture levels have also shot up by over 40%. A research conducted on the soils across China indicates that there are increased moisture levels, which have resulted from increased water levels in the rivers and seas. This has a direct impact on growth of plants because not all plants require high moisture contents for growth.
A serious impact has occurred on the Southern Plateau of Loess. Areas with notable increasing trends in soil moisture located in Northwestern China and small regions of southeastern China and the eastern part of Tibet plateau (Jinhai et al 204). Moisture levels have increased, and crop growth patterns have changed because of this.
Climate changes have also led to increased soil erosion in China. A study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences indicated that, there is increased surface run-off. This, in turn, results to high levels of soil erosion, as the top soil layer is swept off by water. The melting of glaciers brought about by increased temperatures is responsible for soil erosion (Ligang and Wing 270).
Heavy rains and increased water levels that result to flooding have also had a significant effect on soil erosion. Increased soil erosion means that soil fertility levels decrease, thus decreased food production.
China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and wastes. It is the world’s second largest economy with rapid economic growth; therefore, majority of the industries has not identified appropriate ways of disposing their wastes.
Most of them dispose the wastes in water, resulting to water pollution. This has caused water-borne diseases among the Chinese people. Water pollution has also had an impact on agricultural resources, as heavily polluted water with toxic industrial wastes has resulted to decreased and reduced crop production. The toxic wastes released by industries into rivers that provide the capital cities with water have resulted to chronic diseases (Ligang and Wing 278).
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Climate changes have also resulted to water shortages in the Chinese cities. There is an estimated deficit of 40 billion cubic liters of water in China every year. This shortfall has been brought about by changes in temperature that have resulted to desertification, thus prolonged droughts and lack of an environment that stimulates rainfall. The heavy industries that discharge wastes into the rivers and seas, together with greenhouse gases have caused exceptionally high levels of water resources pollution. Green house gases have increased precipitation variability as well as seasonal runoff shifts between water supply and demand. The quality of water has also been compromised due to the high-pollution levels (Jinhai et al 44).
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Climate change has certainly had far-reaching impacts on air, water and soil in China. These impacts range from those that affect human beings as well as those that harm the environment. Both are of importance and need to be addressed urgently by the Chinese government in order to protect its people and the environment.
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Congbin Fu, Zhaoyong Guan and Jinhai He. Regional Climate Studies of China. Springer, 2008. Print
Ligang Song and Wing Thye Woo. China’s Dilemma: Economic Growth, the Environment and Climate Change. ANU E Press, 2008. Print
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