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Climate Change Could Worsen Supply Chain Turmoil


Chinese factories were shuttered again in late August, a frequent occurrence in a country that has imposed intermittent lockdowns to fight the coronavirus. But this time, the culprit was not the pandemic. Instead, a record-setting drought crippled economic activity across southwestern China, freezing international supply chains for automobiles, electronics and other goods that have been routinely disrupted over the past three years.Such interruptions could soon become more frequent for companies that source parts and products from around the world as climate change, and the extreme weather events that accompany it, continue to disrupt the global delivery system for goods in highly unpredictable ways, economists and trade experts warn.Much remains unknown about how the world’s rapid warming will affect agriculture, economic activity and trade in the coming decades. But one clear trend is that natural disasters like droughts, hurricanes and wildfires are becoming more frequent and unfolding in more locations. In addition to the toll of human injury and death, these disasters are likely to wreak sporadic havoc on global supply chains, exacerbating the shortages, delayed deliveries and higher prices that have frustrated bu …

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