Chinese farmers bear brunt of climate woes

Published Nov 3, 2021

Tridge summary

Wang Yuetang’s sneakers sink into the mud of what was once his thriving corn and peanut farm as he surveys the damage done by an unstable climate. Three months after torrential rains flooded much of central China’s Henan province, stretches of the country’s flat agricultural heartland are still submerged in several inches of water. It’s one of the many calamities around the world that are giving urgency to the U.N. climate summit underway in Glasgow, Scotland. ”There is nothing this year.

Original content

It’s all gone,” Wang said. “Farmers on the lowland basically have no harvest, nothing." He lost his summer crop to floods, and in late October the ground was still too wet to plant the next season’s crop, winter wheat. On other nearby farms, shriveled beanstalks and rotted cabbage heads bob in the dank water, buzzing with flies. Some of the corn ears can be salvaged, but because the husks are moldy, they can be sold only as animal feed, bringing lower prices. The flooding disaster is the worst that farmers in Henan like Wang can remember in 40 years — but it is also a preview of the kind of extreme conditions the country is likely to face as the planet warms and the weather patterns growers depend upon are increasingly destabilized. “As the atmosphere warms up, air can hold more moisture, so when storms occur, they can rain out more extreme precipitation,” said Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University. “Chances are extremely likely that human-induced climate ...
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