Extreme Temperature Diary- Friday December 26th, 2020/ Main Topic: China’s New Surge In The Demand For Coal

Saturday December 26th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😀

Main Topic: China’s New Surge In The Demand For Coal

Dear Diary. Happy Boxing Day everyone. I hope that Santa did not leave coal in your stockings yesterday if you have been bad during this detestable year. Certain countries would love tons of coal in theirs, though. In the case of China, which should know better by now, coal use is surging. By far, China has transformed their society very fast in the past century and have invested in infrastructure the last twenty years more than any other modern nation. Unfortunately, they are not transforming their energy use sector fast enough towards renewables to help the planet avoid climate catastrophe.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic coal usage dropped sharply during early 2020. China conquered the pandemic faster than just about every other nation, and now their giant economy has come roaring back with a big thirst for electrical energy. The bottom line here is that China has not built enough solar plants to pick up any slack as far as all energy needs go. Here are more details from Desdemona Despair and the New York Times:

China rations electricity for millions – “The whole city was dark”

A worker stands outside a construction site of the Xinzhuang coal mine that is part of Huaneng Group’s integrated coal power project, on 30 September 2020. Photo: Thomas Peter / Reuters
A worker stands outside a construction site of the Xinzhuang coal mine that is part of Group’s integrated coal power project, on 30 September 2020. Photo: Thomas Peter / Reuters

By Vivian Wang
21 December 2020

(The New York Times) – In the city of Yiwu in eastern China, the authorities turned off streetlights for several days and ordered factories to open only part-time. In coastal Wenzhou, the government ordered some companies not to heat their offices unless temperatures are close to freezing. In southern Hunan Province, workers have reported climbing dozens of flights of stairs after elevators were shut down.

Large swaths of China are scrambling to restrict electricity use this winter, as the country’s rapid economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and unexpectedly frigid temperatures have sent demand for power surging. Officials in at least three provinces — where a total of more than 150 million people live — have issued orders limiting energy use, warning of potential coal shortages.

A man walks between newly built apartment blocks at Huateng’s Yadian coal mine near Xianyang, Bin County, Shaanxi province, China, on 30 September 2020. Photo: Thomas Peter / Reuters
A man walks between newly built apartment blocks at Huateng’s Yadian coal mine near Xianyang, Bin County, Shaanxi province, China, on 30 September 2020. Photo: Thomas Peter / Reuters

Demand for coal is so high in the mining hub of Henan Province that buyers have been lining up in trucks at the gates of coal mines, jostling for access, according to a recent report in the state-run news media.

Many residents have responded to the restrictions with anxiety and confusion, worrying about being left in the cold or suffering hits to their businesses.

Chinese officials have sought to remind citizens of the country’s ambitious environmental goals while reassuring them that there is plenty of energy to keep people warm and the economy humming. […]

Workers shovel coal onto a truck in Huating, China, on 18 September 2020. Photo: Thomas Peter / Reuters
Workers shovel coal onto a truck in Huating, China, on 18 September 2020. Photo: Thomas Peter / Reuters

Coastal areas of China depend on imported coal, including from Australia. But relations between the two countries have gone into free-fall this year, as Australia has, among other things, demanded an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, which first emerged in China. China in turn has banned imports of Australian coal — leaving huge ships stranded at sea.

Chinese officials have denied that the ban on Australian coal is responsible for the current squeeze on energy, noting that in 2018 less than 8 percent of China’s coal consumption involved imported coal; much of Australia’s coal is also used for steel and other metals, not power. But the government has also acknowledged, with rare bluntness, the scale of the problem.

Monthly CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement in China, millions of tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2), in 2019 (blue) versus 2020 (red). Shading shows the difference between the two years. Source: CREA analysis of data from WIND Information and China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Graphic: Carbon Brief
Monthly CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement in China, millions of tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2), in 2019 (blue) versus 2020 (red). Shading shows the difference between the two years. Source: CREA analysis of data from WIND Information and China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Graphic: Carbon Brief

“At the moment, some provinces temporarily do not have enough electricity. This is an objective fact,” one of the national government’s most powerful bodies, the entity that oversees state-owned companies, said on Sunday. […]

The resurgence of manufacturing may be one reason for the new restrictions. China reported a record trade surplus of $75 billion in November, fueled by a 21 percent surge in exports compared with the same period last year. Exports to the United States alone jumped 46 percent.

That spurt of demand, while bolstering Yiwu’s economy, may also have put the city over its energy targets, Dr. Andrews-Speed said. That could have prompted officials to make sudden cuts in order to comply with environmental goals, he added. [more]

‘The Whole City Was Dark’: China Rations Electricity for Millions

Let’s think positively here knowing that China has bought onto how badly it is in their interest to be part of climate crisis solutions. Hopefully China’s thirst for energy will be quenched by the development of giant solar power farms as we move further into the 2020s.

Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”

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