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China's drought threatens its food and energy security
Beijing: Over 900 million people in over 17 provinces, as well as an estimated 2.2 million hectares of agricultural land in China, have been impacted by the record high temperatures, adversely impacting its food and energy security.
Poyang Lake, China's largest freshwater lake, and other areas of the Yangtze River Basin (YRB) continue to experience declining water levels even as the heat wave subsides, reported JustEarth news. It has led to concerns over China's water and food security in addition to a large decline in hydropower output and ensuing power shortages, presenting issues with the nation's energy security.
Since 1961, reliable statistics have been kept. This summer has been the driest and warmest in China. A drought developed as a result of the intense weather, and it is still getting worse, reported JustEarth news.
Concerns over China's food security issue have already been growing in light of the extraordinary global food crisis and the country's complex geopolitical scenario.
In recent months, senior officials in China have emphasized numerous times the strategic significance of preserving the nation's food security.
President Xi Jinping urged for more actions to defend grain security and farms from rising domestic production after publicly linking food security to China's national security, reported JustEarth news.
The YRB is crucial to China's food security because it produces about 50 per cent of the nation's grain. The drought has already raised serious concerns about how it would affect China's autumn grain production.
China's autumn harvests are in a "critical stage," according to Liu Weiping, vice minister of water resources in China, who made this statement recently.
Following Xi's audacious pledge that China would attain its peak carbon emissions by 2030 and become carbon neutral before 2060, the 14th Five-Year Plan makes carbon emission reduction and the switch to clean energy a top priority, reported JustEarth news.
Hydropower is projected to gain more traction as China moves away from coal, which currently provides close to 70 per cent of its energy needs.
Sichuan stands out as China's hydropower powerhouse among the YRB provinces. According to estimates, hydropower dams provide 80 per cent of the province's electricity.
The province exports a large portion of its hydropower to other provinces (such as industrial powerhouse provinces Zhejiang and Jiangsu).
Up to 50 per cent of Sichuan's reservoirs have dried up due to the drought, which has had a knock-on effect on the province's hydropower production and exports, reported JustEarth news.
Electricity rationing and shortages in some locations, like Sichuan province and Chongqing, have compelled numerous cities to import electricity from other parts of the nation.
The nation's largest state-owned electric utility company, State Grid Corporation of China, declared that it would try to supply power to Sichuan in an effort to reduce the strain.
In order to conserve electricity for residential consumption, factories in Sichuan have also been obliged to close down or scale back operations.
According to numerous accounts in Chinese media, businesses and shopping centres were also required to turn off their air conditioning and lights.
The drought and its effects are anticipated to last longer due to Sichuan's low precipitation levels and decreased water levels in its reservoirs, reported JustEarth news. (ANI)