The most populous region of the biggest polluter on Earth – China’s northern plain – will become uninhabitable in places if climate change is not curbed
The deadliest place on the planet for extreme future heatwaves will be the north China plain, one of the most densely populated regions in the world and the most important food-producing area in the huge nation.
New scientific research shows that humid heatwaves that kill even healthy people within hours will strike the area repeatedly towards the end of the century thanks to climate change, unless there are heavy cuts in carbon emissions.
“This spot is going to be the hottest spot for deadly heatwaves in the future,” said Prof Elfatih Eltahir, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, who led the new study. The projections for China’s northern plain are particularly worrying because many of the region’s 400 million people are farmers and have little alternative to working outside.
“China is currently the largest contributor to the emissions of greenhouse gases, with potentially serious implications to its own population,” he said. “Continuation of current global emissions may limit the habitability of the most populous region of the most populous country on Earth.”