How Climate Change Impact On China, Philippines, and Malaysia and How the Countries Respond to the Issue
How Climate Change Impact On China, Philippines, and Malaysia and How the Countries Respond to the Issue
How Climate Change Impact On China, Philippines, and Malaysia and How the Countries Respond to the Issue
Climate change presents a myriad of challenges to all sectors of a country, especially those reliant on natural resources such as agriculture. The connection between climate change and agriculture is an important issue because the world’s resources for food production are under pressure from a swiftly increasing population. One of the leading driving forces in agriculture is the ever-rising demand for food throughout the world. Nevertheless, possible changes in climate may hinder productivity and output in industries associated with agriculture. The overall agricultural production in low latitudes, particularly the tropical and semitropical regions are likely to reduce as a result of climate change. These findings have consequences for global food security and agricultural incomes because a majority of the developing countries, comprising Malaysia, Philippines, and China are located in regions of lower latitude. A decline in agricultural incomes will raise the level of poverty and reduce the ability of households to invest for a better future. However, the effects of climate change are not uniformly distributed. The poorest countries and people encounter the harmful effects of climate change first, and will be hurt the most because these nations are more susceptible to the negative effects such as the rise of the level of the sea and the effects on water resources, crop production, fisheries, ecosystems, and human health. In less developed nations, the greatest percentage of the population is reliant on climate-dependent sectors and there is a lower capacity to develop and espouse adaptation strategies. Nonetheless, these nations have to bear promotion costs and implementation of various mitigation strategies. Notably, the effects of mitigation will only be experienced eventually by future generations. Furthermore, as a result of the limited adaptive capabilities, these nations’ poor communities are more susceptible to natural hazards.
How Climate Change Impacts on China, Philippines, and Malaysia
The changing climatic conditions have affected China, Philippines, and Malaysia. The Asian region is grappling with increasing incidences of natural disasters, such the landslides witnessed in the Philippines in 2006, extreme weather events witnessed in China in 2006 comprising storms, incidences of drought and heat in both the central and north-eastern regions, and flooding in the east and south (Akram, 2012). The effects of these tragedies comprised hunger, loss of livelihood, disease, and collateral destruction of infrastructures. All of these incidences impact on the well-being and survival of the population in the affected nations. In China, the impacts of climate change have been experienced in different fields. In the agricultural sector, the country has experienced both beneficial and harmful effects with the harmful being noticeable than the beneficial ones (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). The volume of river stream flow in northern China reduced significantly, and the source regions’ ecosystems of the Yellow River and Yangtze River and the rivers in the inland have degraded. China has exhibited some regional differences in the extent to which climate change has been experienced. The change has adversely affected the country’s water resources and caused an increase in droughts and floods (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). Due to the combined impacts of climate change and human activities, the annual volume of streamflow of the Yellow River has reduced by 9.2 percent per decade between 1951 and 2004. Also, the mean streamflow was less than 33 percent after the 1980s and reduced sharply from 1990 (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). In the Dongting Lake Basin, the yearly highest streamflow in Yuanshui River and Xiangjiang River did not display obvious changes, whereas the Lishui River Basin and sub-basins of Zishui River reduced. Around 1991, the yearly flow of the stream in the middle and lower reaches of Hanjiang River had sharply reduced. The annual runoff of Yangtze River in Hubei increased slightly in the 1990s but with significant spatial and seasonal differences. The annual streamflow of Yichang and Hankou between 1950 and 2004, for instance, reduced at rates of 0.70 percent and 0.21 percent per decade, respectively (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). Changes in the seasonal streamflow were witnessed as reductions in spring and autumn, and upsurges in summer and winter. Concurrently, the stream flows in summer increased resulting in floods during the summer and reduced water shortage in the winter.
China’s wetland ecosystem has also been adversely affected by climate change and human activities. The size of the wetland area reduced, resulting in changes in its structures and functions, degradation of the water quality, and an increase in the ecological susceptibility (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). Central China, for instance, is a typical wetland ecosystem with lakes and rivers. This region has experienced a reduction in the size of wetland area due to climate change, reclamation of farmland, aquatic farming, town and urban developments, and hydraulic engineering among many other human activities (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). With the existing datasets, it is hard to determine the influences induced by climate change in wetland ecosystems. Compared to the 1950s, the size of the Dongting Lake has reduced by 36 percent, the Honghu Lake by 47 percent, the Futou Lake by 28 percent, the Liangzi Lake by 27 percent, and the Longgan Lake by 45 percent (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). Over the 50 years, the average temperature of air and the precipitation rose by 1.5°C and 5.7 percent and 0.81°C and 2.0 percent respectively in the wetlands regions of Honghu Lake and Dongting Lake (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). The types of wetlands have also altered; for instance, some areas of the Honghu Lake wetlands have changed into herbaceous swamps and the aquaculture farms among other artificial wetlands prompted by the changes of water level. Moreover, the decline in the water levels of rivers and lakes was conducive to the concentration of the algae species, causing degradation in the quality of water and promoting water blooms. In Hanjiang River, the middle and lower reaches of the first blooms occurred in 1992, 1998 and 2000 (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). This situation displayed the shortened bloom cycle and the elongated period in larger areas. The differences in regional and seasonal rainfall caused some variations that include the increase in the onset of wetlands dry season, the lengthy duration, and the rise in the volatility of water level. The variations also include the decline in the capacity of flood control and carbon sink, the endangered biodiversity, the altered habits, and the augmented vulnerability of the wetlands (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). The phytoplankton species reduced, bird breeding season lengthened and their patterns of migration altered, and foreign species came and bloomed.
The agricultural sector of China has witnessed extensive effects of climate change. This has resulted from the changing agro-climate, causing instability of agricultural yields and an increase in crop diseases and insect pests (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). These consequences have resulted from the changes in climate conditions and meteorological calamities during the growing seasons. For instance, the commencement date of daily average temperature of ≥ 10°C in Central China has progressed 2–5 d earlier, coupled with an increase of 2–9 d in the period and between 300 and 550°C d in dynamic accumulated temperature (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). Despite the decline in rice growth disasters associated with low temperature, the hazards of high temperature increased. For instance, the dry-hot winds and frosts have become worse with incidences of 50.6 percent and frosts have reduced by 6.3 percent per decade, hampering wheat production. The distribution of crops based on species and spatial distribution has also changed. As a result of the rise of heat, the northern borders that grows the double cropping rice have shifted by about 0.3°–0.5° latitudinal northward (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). Moreover, the period conducive for growing winter wheat has delayed and the stages for crop development have shifted, resulting in the fluctuation in the yields of the grains. Also, the quality of wheat produce has changed and winter and spring temperatures have increased, making the development stages of winter crops in spring and the citrus earlier.
Additionally, there has been a rise of night temperature by about 1°C, resulting in a decline of rice yields by about 1 percent (Yong-Jian et al., 2013). Also, crop diseases and insect pests have increased. Rice plant hoppers have increased in Hubei and there was more than five times increase in the size of areas with the rice plant hoppers between 1991 and 2007. The production of corn and wheat in northeast China has been adversely affected (Tao et al., 2012). Due to a significant rise in temperature and a reduction in precipitation, the permafrost area has witnessed an extensive reduction in the vegetation coverage. In northern China, the overall primary productivity has reduced in the ecotone in the sectors of agriculture and animal husbandry. Throughout the country, the incidences and intensity of severe weather events have increased considerably in most areas. Coral reef and mangrove ecosystems have degraded significantly. Climate change presents negative impacts on the richness and diversity of species, including the extinction of some species from their original habitats.
Changes in the distribution of harmful organisms excretes has increased risk of habitat degradation. Many Chinese cities have also witnessed an increase in the incidence of extreme precipitation events (Chen et al., 2010). Besides, there have been high temperature heat waves among many other extreme weather incidents that adversely affect human health. For instance, there is an increasing risk of infectious diseases and the growing range of vector borne diseases (Zhou et al., 2007). Based on these findings, there are positive and negative consequences of climate change in China. However, the negatives surpass the positives.
The Philippine has also experienced extensive effects of climate change due to its reliance on agriculture. It has experienced natural disasters such as floods that have devastating socio-economic effects on the Islands nation’s rural municipalities (Zafra, 2018). This nation has also sustained incidences of drought or extreme wet seasons that put crops in peril. Farmers in areas such as Mindanao have lost their crops to floods and drought on several instances (Chandra, 2017). The country has seen extreme climate events resulting in frequent occurrence of severe La Niña and El Niño events, deadly and damaging typhoons, and severe storms, landslides, floods, forest fires, flash floods, and drought (Virola et al., 2008). These events result in persistent torrential rains that cause landslides and flash floods, leading to loss of human lives and animals and destruction of properties and environment along its path. The changes in climate change have adversely affected the coastal zones and ecosystems of the marine (Virola et al., 2008). This occurrence was witnessed greatly in 1998 when massive coral bleaching in different reefs all over the Philippines, which resulted from the elevated temperatures of the sea between the severe 1997 and 1998 ENSO episode. Austere red tide eruptions also occurred after the strong El Niño periods. The health of the population in the country has experienced the effects of climate change since many of the biological organisms causing infectious diseases has increased. Diseases such as dengue fever and malaria has also increased in the country (Virola et al., 2008). Other diseases, such as cholera, which are associated with climatic conditions, have been experienced in a growing trend due to extremes of precipitation, floods, and droughts.
Malaysia has witnessed intensive effects of climate change. The climate of the country is naturally affected by the monsoon of the Southeast Asia Maritime Continent and the variability of climate changes associated with these two big oceans (Rahman, Mohamad, & Zarim, 2014). The region experiences two monsoon systems comprising the southwest monsoon between May and August coupled with southwesterly winds and northeast monsoon between November and February with northeasterly winds. At the time of southwest wind, strong pulses of cold flow, the penetration of wind to South China Sea’s most southern region, and the region are characteristically wetter in the northeast monsoon because the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is located close to the equator. In the northwestward period, cases of significant and persistent forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan result in severe mist in Malaysia and impact on the country’s climate (Rahman, Mohamad, & Zarim, 2014). In the past few years, there has been a substantial rise in the intensity of rainfall around Peninsular Malaysia around the northeast monsoon resulting in major floods in the country. As a result of the geographic location, it is easy for the spread of pollution Malaysia resulting in alterations in climate and impact Malaysia’s delicate environmental equilibrium.
Due to climate change, Malaysia has experienced extreme weather characterized by days of high temperature, dry spell, thunderstorm, high rainfall, and strong winds. In the course of the past decades, the country witnessed increasing incidences of extreme weather events. It recorded the worst ﬂoods in the southern peninsular during the 2006/2007 monsoon (Ho, 2019). The country has seen a rise in extreme rainfall events since the 1980s. Extreme events of wind and the number of yearly thunderstorm days have also risen. There is evidence of a hot year from the temperature rises under the inﬂuence of El Nino (Ho, 2019). The combined incidences of the dry spell and heavy rainfall in the same year are an emerging weather pattern in the country (Khor, 2015). There has been increasing records of extreme weather events such as ﬂoods in the 21st century (Ho, 2019). This experience is comparable to the global rise of extreme weather, particularly ﬂoods and storms. Since 1951, the country has experienced rising temperature at the rate of 0.18°C per decade. Also, it has witnessed an average annual rise of the level of the sea at an average annual rate of about 1.25 mm from 1986 at a site in its southern coast, Peninsular Malaysia. Over the past 50 years, there has been an increase in minimum temperature surface by about 1.5°C around the Peninsular Malaysia compared to average and maximum surface temperatures. Malaysia has experienced changing soil moisture and stability of the land. It has witnessed landslides due to heavy rainfall, which causes soil erosion and destabilization. Between 1993 and 2002, the country has recorded a sum of 26 landslides, resulting in more than 150 deaths and thousands of evacuations (Shamsuddin, 2016). The landslides have adversely impacted on the country’s real estate sector because investors are avoiding purchasing and developing flood-prone regions.
Responses to the Issue
China, the Philippines, and Malaysia have undertaken a number of measures to curb climate change and mitigate the effects already experienced. For instance, China developed the 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China, a program that defines the need for improved climate change adaptation. During the Paris climate conference, the Chinese President Xi Jinping made a declaration that his country is paying equal attention to adaptation and mitigation measures to climate change. His signing of the Paris agreement displayed China’s desire to develop a climate adaptation society (Li et al., 2014). China ascribes great significance to global leadership in the adaptation of climate change. The country takes the first position among developing countries to establish Agenda 21 (He, 2017). It undertakes initiatives from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and has created a national leadership and coordination program on climate change, and established a series of key policies and actions. The government of China also sponsors research and technology development in the adaptation of climate change (He, 2017). From the “11th Five-Year Plan” period, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and 14 other ministries and commissions have in collaboration established China’s Scientific and Technological Actions on Climate Change (He, 2017). They have accelerated key and basic technology research and development, established technologically incorporated applications, and conducted cooperation in international technology on climate change adaptation, an undertaking which has yielded significantly positive results.
There are a rising number of policies designed to facilitate climate change adaptation in China. Since 2007, the Chinese government has enacted and issued about ten policies focusing on climate change adaptation (He, 2017). They comprise the Science and Technology Special Actions Addressing Climate Change in China and the National Program on Climate Change (He, 2017). There are also independent climate change mitigation programs such as the National Strategy for Climate Adaptation and the Action plan for urban adaptation to climate change. These policies and programs provide the objectives, key areas, basic principles, and measures to be considered in the climate change mitigation processes. The National Climate Change Science and Technology Development Plan contained in the 12th Five-Year Plan is an example of the state adaptation plan in China that guide the country’s climate change science and technology measures (He, 2017). The measures developed by the plan focus on water resources, agriculture, ecological system, forestry, disaster prevention, marine, human health, and major projects among many others. Other climate change mitigation plans and policies include the National Comprehensive Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Plan of 2011-2015, which seeks to strengthen the establishment of policies for risk management in natural calamities, especially frequent disasters instigated by climate change (State Council, 2011). China’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan of 2011-2030 stipulate further requirements to reinforce the country’s biodiversity conservation, particularly under climate change. The National Environment and Health Action Plan (2007-2015) was created to support the efforts in the lawmaking and management and technology spheres relating to the environment and health, by managing health-related adverse impacts of climate change, such as minimizing the incidences of climate-related diseases and safeguarding public health (Kan, 2009). On the other hand, the Guidelines of the National Committee for Disaster Reduction is intended to strengthen the broad disaster prevention in urban and rural areas as a way of climate change adaptation requirements.
The Philippines has also responded to climate change by crafting several policies touching on climate change adaptation. For instance, it has established the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), a one-billion-peso fund developed in 2014 as an additional fund for the units of local governments and community organizations (Zafra, 2018). The Fund is intended to fund the adoption of long-term projects that may create resiliency to the impacts of climate change within the municipalities. Other initiatives developed by the Philippines comprise the enactment of Climate Change Act of 2009, which sought to integrate climate change mitigation in national plans and programs and created the Climate Change Commission as an organ responsible for enacting and implementing climate change policies (Zafra, 2018). In 2010, the country enacted the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, providing an inclusive and community-based plan for disaster preparedness and mandates the local government units to undertake disaster risk management (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 2010). The Act requires the local government units to establish their Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and develop a Local Climate Change Action Plan (Department of the Interior and Local Government, 2014). Just like China and the Philippines, Malaysia has attempted to respond to climate change in different ways.
Malaysia has participated in the Asia Paciﬁc Climate Change Adaptation Project Preparation Facility (ADAPT), a program designed to promote accessibility to the sponsorship of climate change adaptation and boost the sharing of knowledge in the region on matters touching on climate change (Gass et al., 2011). In response to the rising cases of flooding, the Malaysian Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) created an ofﬁcial web of ﬂood information dubbed the Public Infobanjir. This web gives alerts and warnings on water levels based on the information of its ﬂood measures across the country to enhance emergency response. The Infobanjir emerged from the ﬂood forecasting and warning system program developed by the DID through which the combined ﬂood and rainfall management (IFFRM) is also held. The IFFRM is made up of two key components: ﬂood forecasting and water resources monitoring, mainly drought, water quality, and debris ﬂow. It seeks intermediate response to minimize the effects of ﬂood in response to climate change (DID, 2018). This program also brought about a drought monitoring website dubbed InfoKemarau (DID, 2018). The country’s Meteorological Department gives warning of tsunami and earthquake, thunderstorm, strong wind, rough sea, heavy rains and tropical cyclones on its website.
Malaysia has also established the Public Works Department Malaysia, which is a disaster management center that maintains a website relaying weather warnings provided by the Meteorological Department (CFE-DM, 2016). The country has adopted the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) which is an adaptation initiative which led to the enactment of the National Water Resources Policy in March 2012 (Ho, 2019). This policy proposes the governance of water resource through policy, technology, participation, information, ﬁnance, and institutions. The key achievements made after the adoption of IWRM comprise the passage of laws that enhance efﬁcient water supplies and sewerage services, the creation of National River Register and accomplishment of 12 river basin management plans and the publication of the manual for urban storm water management (Ho, 2019). Also, the country has adopted paddy planting as a strategy of enhancing rice production since the crop is the country’s major staple food. There are eight granary areas in the country that have been set as permanent paddy producing regions to ensure sustainable rice production.
China, the Philippines, and Malaysia have experienced different effects of climate change. The countries have experienced landslides, extreme weather events such as storms, drought and heat, and flooding. The countries’ agricultural sectors are the hardest affected industries since harsh climatic conditions hamper the growth and productivity of the crops grown. However, among the three nations, China has exhibited more commitment to tackling climate change. China has created more programs, passed many legislation, and funded scientific research on climate change. Also, it has participated heavily in international climate change programs, as exhibited by its ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. China is leading among the developing nation in contributing to international global change mitigation initiatives.
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