Massive River Flooding Expected in China's Guangdong, Threatening Millions

FILE PHOTO: Visitors attend the China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China April 15, 2024. REUTERS/David Kirton/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Visitors attend the China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China April 15, 2024. REUTERS/David Kirton/File Photo
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Massive River Flooding Expected in China's Guangdong, Threatening Millions

FILE PHOTO: Visitors attend the China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China April 15, 2024. REUTERS/David Kirton/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Visitors attend the China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China April 15, 2024. REUTERS/David Kirton/File Photo

Major rivers, waterways and reservoirs in China's Guangdong province are threatening to unleash dangerous floods, forcing the government on Sunday to enact emergency response plans to protect more than 127 million people, Reuters reported.
Calling the situation "grim", local weather officials said sections of rivers and tributaries at the Xijiang and Beijiang river basins are hitting peak water levels that only happen once in 50 years, according to state broadcaster CCTV news on Sunday.
Massive flooding is expected at the Beijiang basin, CCTV said quoting China's water resource ministry, prompting it to raise an emergency advisory.
Guangdong officials urged departments in all localities and municipalities to begin emergency planning to avert natural disasters and promptly disperse disaster relief funds and materials to ensure affected people have food, clothing, water and a place to live.
The province has seen torrid downpours and strong winds since Saturday evening due to severe convective weather which has affected several parts of China over the past few weeks, Reuters reported.
A 12-hour stretch of heavy rain, starting from 8 p.m. (1200 GMT) Saturday, battered the central and northern parts of the province in Zhaoqing, Shaoguan, Qingyuan and Jiangmen.
Some power facilities in Zhaoqing were damaged, cutting power to some places.
"Please look at Zhaoqing's Huaiji county, which has become a water town. The elderly and children at the countryside don't know what to do with power outages and no signal," said one user on the popular social media site Weibo.
Raging muddy flood waters swept one vehicle down a narrow street in Zhaoqing, showed a video released by Hongxing News.
"It rained like a waterfall for an hour and a half on the highway driving home last night," said another netizen. "I couldn't see the road at all."
Many hydrological stations in the province are exceeding water levels, weather officials warned, and in the provincial capital Guangzhou, a city of 18 million, reservoirs have reached flood limits, city officials announced on Sunday.
Data showed 2,609 hydrological stations with daily rainfall greater than 50 mm (1.97 inches), accounting for about 59% of all observation stations. At 8 a.m. Sunday, 27 hydrological stations in Guangdong were on alert.
Officials have been reducing water levels at the reservoirs through spillways and culvert discharge to ensure downstream flood control.



Hollywood Movies Rarely Reflect Climate Change Crisis. These Researchers Want to Change That

This image released by Netflix shows Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy and Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky in a scene from "Don't Look Up." (Niko Tavernise/Netflix via AP)
This image released by Netflix shows Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy and Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky in a scene from "Don't Look Up." (Niko Tavernise/Netflix via AP)
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Hollywood Movies Rarely Reflect Climate Change Crisis. These Researchers Want to Change That

This image released by Netflix shows Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy and Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky in a scene from "Don't Look Up." (Niko Tavernise/Netflix via AP)
This image released by Netflix shows Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy and Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky in a scene from "Don't Look Up." (Niko Tavernise/Netflix via AP)

Aquaman might not mind if the oceans rise, but moviegoers might.

That's one of the takeaways from a new study conducted by researchers who set out to determine if today's Hollywood blockbusters are reflective of the current climate crisis. The vast majority of movies failed the “climate reality check” proposed by the authors, who surveyed 250 movies from 2013 to 2022.

The test is simple — the authors looked to see if a movie presented a story in which climate change exists, and whether a character knows it does. One film that passed the test was the 2017 superhero movie Justice League, in which Jason Momoa's Aquaman character says, “Hey, I don't mind if the oceans rise” to Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne, The AP reported.

But most movies fell short — fewer than 10% of the 250 films passed, and climate change was mentioned in two or more scenes of fewer than 4% of the films. That's out of touch with a moviegoing public that wants “to see their reality reflected on screen,” said Colby College English professor Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, lead researcher on the study.

“The top line is just that the vast majority of films, popular films produced over the last 10 years in the United States, are not portraying the world as it is,” Schneider-Mayerson said. “They are portraying a world that is now history or fantasy — a world in which climate change is not happening.”

Researchers at Maine's Colby College published the study in April along with Good Energy, a Los Angeles-based environmental consultancy. The results were peer reviewed, and the authors are seeking publication in scientific journals. The researchers view the test as a way for audience members, writers and filmmakers to evaluate the representation of climate change on screen.

Some results were surprising. Movies that at first glance appear to have little overlap with climate or the environment passed the test. Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach's emotive 2019 drama about the collapse of a relationship, passed the test in part because Adam Driver's character is described as “energy conscious,” Schneider-Mayerson said.

The 2022 whodunnit Glass Onion and the 2019 folk horror movie Midsommar were others to pass the test. Some that were more explicitly about climate change, such as the 2021 satire Don't Look Up, also passed. But San Andreas, a 2015 movie about a West Coast earthquake disaster, and The Meg, a 2018 action movie set in the ocean, did not.

The authors narrowed the selection of movies by excluding films not set on Earth or set before 2006 or after 2100. They found streaming services had a higher percentage of movies that included climate change than the major studios did.

The study is “valuable for marketing purposes, informational purposes, data accumulation,” said Harry Winer, director of sustainability at the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Winer, who was not involved in the study, said it could also help serve as an incentive to connect audiences with climate stories.

“The audience will be more open to hearing a dialogue about what is right and what is wrong,” Winer said. “It's a conversation starter.”

The study authors said they see the climate reality check as a kind of Bechdel-Wallace test for climate change. Alison Bechdel, a cartoonist, is credited with popularizing that test in the 1980s by incorporating her friend Liz Wallace's test about gender representation in film into a comic strip. The test asks if a movie includes at least two female characters who have a conversation about something other than a man.

Bechdel herself spoke highly of the study's climate test, which she described as “long overdue” in a social media post during this year's Academy Awards season. Bechdel said in an e-mail to The AP that “for a movie set in the present to ignore this existential threat just doesn't make sense anymore" in the age of climate change.

“I do worry that screenwriters might do it in a kind of rote way, which could be counterproductive, just like rote ‘strong female characters’ are," Bechdel said. "But injecting an awareness of our communal plight into the stories we ingest seems like a no-brainer.”