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Countries Victims of Earth’s New “Catastrophe”: England-China

Crises caused by climate change continue to emerge in the world. A number of developed countries are now under threat.

Drought brought food “catastrophe” to England. Meanwhile, Germany gave an alarm to industry and France reported that the water supply of residents was critical.

Logistics on the Panama Canal have also been disrupted. China is even threatened to reduce rice production which will bring world prices soaring.

Then what are the details? The following are several countries that have experienced weather disturbances due to the climate crisis as summarized by CNBC Indonesia , Friday (18/8/2023):


Britain’s current situation is not safe. This is because the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables is threatened by drought in Europe due to climate change.

England has been importing these materials from the Mediterranean. However, according to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) data, all fruits and vegetables will become more expensive and more difficult to obtain in the future.

“This is due to extreme heat which causes reduced crop yields,” wrote the results of the study earlier this week.

Planting directly in England could not be done. Much of the food imported from the Mediterranean could not be grown by the kingdom’s usual agricultural model.

Growing your own means having to use more expensive and energy-intensive processes to get them to grow. Additionally, there are many that cannot be grown in the UK on a large scale, such as cauliflower, broccoli and strawberries.

“It also accounts for almost two-thirds of cucumbers and tomatoes and almost one-fifth of the total onion supply,” he added.

“It is also related that more than half of UK lemons and peppers come from the Mediterranean and two-thirds of oranges and 40% of table wine. Olive oil is also under threat, of which the UK gets 80% of its supply from the region,” the media said.

Based on 2022 data, more than a quarter of UK food imports or 9.8 billion kg (over £16 billion worth) come from the Mediterranean region. Spain is one of them with a contribution of 7% of UK food imports or a value of 4 billion pounds.

“In addition to the climate crisis, we are also in a public health crisis. Most of us are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and often healthier diets tend to cost more,” said Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit Head of international Programs, Gareth Redmond- King, published in The Guardian .

“Because the effects of climate change tend to make the healthy food we should be eating more expensive, even more difficult to access for the poorest people,” he added.


Drought is now hitting France in the south. High temperatures and low rainfall have now resulted in fresh water supply problems across the country.

According to a report by Euro News , more than 300,000 residents of the commune experienced water supply interruptions this week. About 67 communes now receive water by tanker and 18 by bottle.

Like most of Europe, France suffers from unusually hot weather throughout the summer. In June, the European Drought Agency classified a third of the continent as in a state of drought, with 10% of Europe in a state of crisis.

Extreme weather events are driven by El Niño weather patterns. This is exacerbated by the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on the surrounding environment.

But France’s low water levels aren’t just a result of this year’s heat wave. This occurs as a consequence of temperatures that are higher than average for more than one year.

“The year 2022 was the hottest year in the country on record and it was followed by a very dry year 2023. Between January 21 and February 21, there was no rain at all in France,” the media said.

“Although there has been some rainfall in recent months, French soil is already too dry to accommodate it. This means most of the water is running off or being absorbed by plants,” he said.


The drought that hit Germany caused the Rhine River, which is a vital point of logistics transportation, to experience shrinkage and siltation. This has an impact on the disruption of delivery of goods.

The 1,230 km long river is the commercial artery for 80% of goods shipped to the German interior. Commodities shipped via the waterway include crude oil and natural gas.

But after silting in 2018 and 2022, the Rhine River is at its lowest point again this year, preventing transport ships from crossing the waterway. At Kaub, a checkpoint for barges, water levels fell to their lowest level this year at the start of the week.

One company that uses the River Rhine as its lifeblood is Covestro. The chemical maker transported over 30% of its finished goods and received most of the raw materials for its production via the Rhine.

Covestro itself has done a number of things to outsmart this situation. The company has leased two low-water barges capable of supplying customers with hydrochloric acid even when Cologne’s Rhine level dropped to 0.40 meters.

“Climate change and increasing low water levels are a significant challenge for Covestro as well as other companies,” Uwe Arndt, who heads Covestro’s task force on the Rhine, told Reuters in July.

About 260 km down the river, the world’s leading paints and chemicals company, BASF, has also begun using low-water vessels to supply its Ludwigshafen hub, which gets around 40% of its raw materials via the Rhine.

“In the case of flammable and toxic chemicals, rivers are often the only viable transportation option. But Kaub’s sub-meter level means that traditional barges have to reduce their cargo by more than half to under 1,500 metric tons,” the company said. TTG delivery.

The impact of low water levels is not limited to big business. Germany’s gross domestic product shrank 0.4% in 2018 as Rhine traffic slowed.

“As a rule of thumb, if the water level in Kaub falls below 78 centimeters for 30 consecutive days, as it did in 2022 and 2018, industrial production falls by 1%,” according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Panama Canal

The Panama Canal in the Americas is also reported to be drying up. Even though this canal is an important transportation and logistics route for the world.

This affects export-import ships that want to pass. In fact, the number of ships waiting to cross the Panama Canal is now in the hundreds that satellite photos show.

Quoting CNCB International , since August 8, the Panama Canal Authority (PAC) has indeed reduced travel slots. Drought since the end of July is indeed a cause.

The Panama Canal will always lose 50 million gallons of water when one ship crosses the canal. But the situation worsened after the water of Lake Gatun, which flows through the canal, was at its lowest point in four years.

Currently the average waiting time to cross the canal is around 21 days. It’s longer than before.

“For the Panamax ship, which is the largest ship with a carrying capacity of 4,500 20-foot equivalent ATju units (TEU), the number of slots has been reduced to 14 out of 23 days,” PAC said as quoted by CNBC International.

Drought conditions also made PCA ask ships to reduce their carrying capacity by 40%. Ever Max, is said to have been forced to unload 1,400 containers at Balboa Port to meet requirements and get on track.

“The remaining containers may need another ship to complete the journey,” said MarineTraffic North America head Captain Adil Ashiq.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” he said.

The current drought on the Panama Canal has forced businesses to take alternative routes. This adds time and fuel costs to the trip.

“These (additional) costs may be reduced to businesses and consumers,” he added, referring to the potential increase in the price of goods in the future.

CEO of logistics company OL USA, Alan Baer, ​​also confirmed. Delivery of goods, he emphasized, began to look for other routes.

“With more and more difficulty getting to the US East Coast via the Panama Canal, importers may look at ships transiting the Suez (Canal),” Baer said, referring to another important Egyptian canal.

He added, this could be an effective solution for shipping goods originating from the South China region and several origins. However, for North China and North Asia, a deviation through the Suez Canal can add an additional seven to 14 days of transit time.

In the energy sector, diversion is also starting to be seen. S&P Global reported that increased delays had led tankers, which carry refined petroleum products, to avoid the canal and shift their preferences to book routes to the Atlantic.

Data from the Commodities at Sea unit showed that in the combined period from June to July, net exports of Gulf Coast oil products using the canal fell 12% year-over-year in July. Cheniere Energy even announced in July that it would avoid the Panama Canal from shipping LNG due to waiting times.

In fact, this canal is the fastest route for the LNG market to reach Asia. Coal traffic is also making adjustments.

It should be noted that the total containers crossing the Panama Canal represent 73% of US export-import commodities. About 40% of US containers pass through the canal annually with US$270 billion in cargo value.

Previously, the drought that hit Germany caused the Rhine River, which is a vital point of logistics transportation, to experience shrinkage and siltation. This has an impact on the disruption of delivery of goods.

The 1,230 km long river is the commercial “arterial” for 80% of goods shipped to the German interior. Commodities shipped via the waterway include crude oil and natural gas.

United States of America (USA)

The drought caused by high temperatures is also being felt by the US. Drought has reportedly threatened food products in several states in July.

The Illinois county recorded its driest record last June. The farmers were also worried about this incident, which was followed by rising fertilizer and energy prices.

“We know we’ve had some damage, some loss of yield, and some yields that weren’t where we wanted them to be, being one of the most expensive crops, or the most expensive crops we’ve ever planted in the land. In a year like this, we need more revenue than usually,” explains a farmer named David Meiss.

In Kansas, food animal farmers are also complaining of a threatening drought situation. The reason is, with the heating temperature and drought, it is feared that livestock will not be able to withstand these conditions and will eventually die.

“Water, water, water, that’s the number one problem we can have with livestock. You can’t have more livestock than you have water,” said Kansas rancher Zach Blair.

A similar situation also threatens the western region of Uncle Sam. In Washington State, local authorities have declared drought declarations in 12 of the territory’s counties.

In June, Washington state receives only 49% of its usual rainfall, stripping the last of the moisture from the soil before summer arrives.

“River flow and reservoir levels in some areas are well below normal, with forecasts indicating a low probability that conditions will improve this summer,” according to the Ecology Department.

“These conditions cause undue hardship for water users, including small community water systems and farmers.”


Unlike other countries that are experiencing drought, China is experiencing another climate change phenomenon, namely flooding. This also affects rice from that country.

Even the global rice market is believed to be under pressure again. Enclaves of rice production are now experiencing heavy rains and flooding.

“Heavy rains in China’s grain-producing northeastern region will reduce crop yields,” Fitch Ratings said in a recent report, as quoted by CNBC International last week.

“It is likely to put pressure on the already high global rice prices,” he explained.

In detail, three provinces which account for 23% of China’s rice production are currently being hit by severe flooding, namely Inner Mongolia, Jilin and Heilongjiang. Typhoon Doksuri, one of the world’s worst storms, hit northern China in recent weeks, with the heaviest rainfall in 140 years in Beijing.

“Many of the main grain production areas in the three provinces were affected by the heavy rains and remnants of Cyclone Doksuri,” wrote Fotch.

“They will face another flood as Typhoon Khanun moves north,” the report added.

Fitch further said the resulting wet wheat fields would reduce this year’s crop yields, although the full extent of the damage was unclear.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Rice Price Index, global rice prices have soared to their highest level in nearly 12 years. Rice prices hovered at a decade high, with rice futures last trading at US$15.98 per hundred weight (cwt).

Apart from rice, the Fitch report also cited corn and soybeans as among the main crops grown in Inner Mongolia, Jilin and Heilongjiang, which are affected by flood risk. China is expected to import more grain this year than last year.

Source : CNBC