Can the leader of China deliver?

Xi Jinping and the World Climate Crisis: A State-of-the-Art Evaluation of Chinese Infrastructure Investment in High-Climate Regions

At a Communist Party congress this week, Xi Jinping, the country’s top leader for the last 10 years, is all but certain to secure another five years in the job. Xi’s recent predecessors each left office after about a decade to protect China from abuses of power like those during the chaotic Mao era. Xi is expected to cast this precedent aside, taking the country down a more authoritarian path as economic growth teeters and tensions flare with the West.

China wants to decrease carbon emissions and slow global warming. He reiterated those goals in typically grandiose language this week. (“We must uphold and act on the principle that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets.”) President Putin of Russia is threatening to throw the global climate fight in reverse, and he has allied himself with him.

This summer, China sweltered through more than two months of record-high temperatures, the country’s most prolonged heat wave since modern records began in 1961. The river was dry to a trickle. Factories halted production to reduce the burden on power grids. The extreme highs could become a new normal, according to Chen Lijuan, the government’s chief forecaster.

The shift of global manufacturing to Asia has driven a substantial increase in infrastructure investment in already vulnerable regions throughout China, making it more susceptible to the impacts of climate change, Hamden said.

Climate risk specialists XDI assessed more than 2,600 regions worldwide, using climate models together with weather and environmental data to assess the economic damage that temperature rises could cause by 2050.

The study is based on a 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in temperatures by the end of the century, under a scenario drawn up by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The data showed that flooding, sea levels and wildfires could be catastrophic to the global economy, which could lead to lower property prices and deter investment.

Infrastructure investment has tended to be concentrated in areas with a history of high-risk, like river deltas and coastal zones.

The XDI Top 50: Ranking the non-Chinese X-ray Outer Regions in the Space-Time Region

The highest ranking non-Chinese region was Florida in 10th place, with California 19th, Texas 20th and New York 46th. Nine territories from India were also in the top 50.

While climate is likely to become increasingly decisive when it comes to determining the flow of capital, it remains to be seen whether it will deter investment in more vulnerable regions, said Karl Mallon, XDI’s co-founder.

There is a lot to be done to determine which areas of the world will be suitable for defense and which are likely to be abandoned in the future.

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