China is known as one of the most polluted countries in the world. It is not a lie since China is the largest polluter on Earth. However, nobody expects the level of pollution to cause one place to become uninhabitable by the end of the century.
Sadly, this may be a real scenario for the northern plain of China. Extreme deadly heatwaves are expected in this region and they are capable of killing a perfectly healthy person in few hours. The only way to prevent this is to reduce the level of carbon emission as soon as possible.
MIT’s Center for Global Change Science during their recent study found that this region will be the worst spot in the world in the context of deadly heatwaves. The researchers ran extensively computerized climate models to research the unfolding event. Professor Elfatig Eltahir, speaking on behalf of the team, stated that China is the largest contributor to the greenhouse gases emissions and it has a serious implication to its own population. The pollution can make the most populous place of the most populous country on Earth uninhabitable.
This is even more concerning if we look closer to who is living in this region. There are 400 million people and most of them are farmers. Therefore, they depend on both land and weather conditions in order to survive.
Another problem is that Chinese diet is increasing and in near future, it would need to take 1 acre of land to feed the average individual. However, China, including already polluted fields, has only 0.2 acres of land available per citizen. If the trend continues, then the available land will significantly reduce due to heatwaves and pollution and the country will face a major crisis by the end of the century.
A previous study conducted by this team showed that irrigation for farmland also contributes since water evaporation leads to harmful humidity levels. The combination of heat and humidity is measured in “wet bulb” temperatures (WBTs). WBTs above 81.8 degrees Fahrenheit are extremely dangerous, and WBTs above 95 degrees are considered deadly for 100% of the population. Even a perfectly healthy person not exposed directly to the sun, sitting in the shade, will be dead in 6 hours.
The current research shows that fatal WBTs of 95 degrees Fahrenheit would strike the north China plain repeatedly between 2070 and 2100 unless carbon emissions are cut. Even if significant carbon cuts are made, the “extreme danger” WBT would be exceeded many times because of the deadly heatwaves.