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A 'Severe' Heatwave in China Threatens Autumn Harvest

As severe heatwaves and droughts unprecedented in decades continue to put China's power generation capacity and autumn harvests to the test, relevant government departments have increased their efforts to ensure power supply and mitigate the impact of extreme weather on harvest.

Shivam Dwivedi
Draught affected land in China
Draught affected land in China

Economists are concerned about the impact of prolonged drought on the autumn harvest, which accounts for 75% of the total grain output in China. Harvesting begins in about 50 days. Given the circumstances, China is stepping up efforts to alleviate drought in the face of extreme weather, necessitating an 'emergency energy option.'

Sun Shao, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, told Global Times that mid-late August is a critical period for autumn grain crops to grow in the Yangtze River's middle and lower streams and that the ongoing heat wave and drought will reduce crop yields such as corn and soybean.

According to the most recent figures from the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR), the drought has affected 32.99 million arable lands. On Friday, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs held a conference, urging local governments to continue spraying drought-resistant and water-retaining agents in areas lacking irrigation and watering conditions. Localities should harvest early and develop regenerated rice or late-autumn crops in the most severely affected areas.

Meanwhile, Europe, which is also experiencing extreme heat and drought, is looking to coal power plants for assistance. As severe heatwaves and droughts unprecedented in decades continue to put China's power generation capacity and autumn harvests to the test, relevant government departments have increased their efforts to ensure power supply and mitigate the impact of extreme weather on the harvest.

On Sunday, China's Central Meteorological Center (CMC) issued a red alert – the highest level in the country's four-tier weather warning system for extreme heat – for the tenth day in a row.

Since August 1, temperatures in places such as Southwest China's Chongqing, Sichuan, East China's Zhejiang, and Northwest Shaanxi have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius, according to more than 200 meteorological monitoring stations across the country.

Meanwhile, some provincial capitals, such as Nanjing and Nanchang, have seen no rain since August. Sichuan, a province that relies on hydropower for roughly 80% of its energy supply, is experiencing the most extreme heat wave and the least precipitation in recorded history. Since Sunday, the province has launched a high-level emergency response to ensure energy supply.

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