On Monday, in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, army veteran Wang Jinlei stepped on a man-high fence that the police had erected in front of the Shakou Street metro station.

Downstairs, in the carriages of Line 5, six days earlier, 14 people had drowned when an average of 201 millimeters of rain fell within an hour in Zhengzhou from four to five in the afternoon.

It usually rains 640 millimeters over 12 months.

In Zhengzhou, the mark was reached in little more than 24 hours.

Hendrik Ankenbrand

Business correspondent for China based in Shanghai.

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Claudia Bröll

Freelance Africa correspondent based in Cape Town.

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Christoph Hein

Business correspondent for South Asia / Pacific based in Singapore.

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Jonas Jansen

Business correspondent in Düsseldorf.

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Andreas Mihm

Business correspondent for Austria, East-Central, Southeastern Europe and Turkey based in Vienna.

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Winand von Petersdorff-Campen

Business correspondent in Washington.

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In front of the metro station, mourners had left hundreds of yellow and white bouquets of flowers. So the state built the man-high fence so that the public would not see the costs of global warming, which the world's largest carbon emitter has contributed to. Chinese believe that seven days after death, the soul of the deceased returns to the loved ones' homes. Should they arrest him after all, said Wang Jinlei - and on the sixth day tore down the privacy screen.

The Zhengzhou fence has become a symbol in China, which, according to official information, allegedly only killed 99 people due to the floods in Henan Province: a price tag is now attached to climate change. Since 1990, McKinsey estimates that floods have accumulated $ 1 trillion in economic damage. From 2008 to 2018, the water destroyed an average of 9 million hectares of farmland every year - and statistically, killed 760 people.

By 2050, the number of Chinese affected by floods is estimated to rise by 16 million to 83 million annually.

Economic damage grows from $ 35 billion to $ 51 billion a year - not counting the damage caused by heat that keeps people from working outdoors, agricultural droughts, and other global warming disasters.

On Friday, the Beijing government had to answer questions about pork prices, which could rise soon after flooding 15,000 farms in the province and elsewhere.

18 percent less economy without climate protection

The world economy will shrink by 18 percent in the next 30 years if the states do not protect the climate better and the earth warms up by more than 3 degrees compared to the level before the start of industrialization. This is how the reinsurer Swiss Re calculated it recently. Even if all countries keep the promises they made six years ago at the Paris climate summit, gross domestic product would still fall by 4 percent.

China, a billionaire nation, would be one of the hardest hit, and in the worst case the second largest economy would shrink by a quarter. But every country will suffer from climate change, that much is certain. Australia's forest fires in winter 2020 were a beacon, as were the droughts in which millions of animals died of thirst. In summer it hails on the continent. The Great Barrier Reef, a world heritage site, suffers from the sea that is too warm. AMP Capital's chief economist, Shane Oliver, estimates the fires alone would cost Australia between 0.25 and one percentage point of its economic growth, or up to 13 billion Australian dollars.