Within ten years, hotter and wetter weather associated with climate change is expected to heighten the potential for crop failures in China significantly. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, declining yields of wheat, corn and rice are expected until 2030. Since China produces around a quarter of the rice and corn and around a fifth of the wheat in the world, failing harvests could seriously endanger global supply and cause price shocks worldwide.
While wheat and corn already have a heightened potential in the current climate to yield less than average, rice is considered a more stable crop, with potential yield declines not expected to surpass 15 percent annually. If climate change in China progressed like expected until 2030, this stability would be eliminated, making way for a 57 percent chance of a 10 percent yield decline and a 26 percent chance of a 15 percent decline in any given year.
Soy, on the other hand, is a crop that would benefit from a changing climate. Under the current climate change scenario, the chance of a 10 percent yield decline would be greatly reduced – from currently 52 percent to only 10 percent – while the possibility of a 15 percent annual yield decline would be eliminated.
Since China is a large country, the makers of the report also point out that there is the potential of some cultivation areas shifting to previously too cold or too arid areas in China’s North and West if current crop land became inhospitable. Yet, the shift would certainly pose challenges for local economies, distribution networks and ecosystems.