China is facing its biggest power crisis in recent years, with factories halting production and cities across the country seeing blackouts. The Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post reported that the “world’s second-largest economy is suffering its worst power blackouts in a decade.”
Coal and hydro power supply shortage reportedly caused the power crisis. “China needs to bolster its coal supply to avoid an economic slowdown this quarter,” CNBC reported on Monday.
The energy crunch has forced Beijing to buy coal from Australia despite a ban imposed to bully the country. “China unloads Australian coal despite import ban amid power shortage,” the British business daily Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
Last week, Fortune magazine reported the extent of the nationwide energy crisis:
Blackouts across several of China’s northern provinces switched traffic and street lights off last weekend, causing miles-long traffic jams in several cities. Residents of high-rise apartment buildings were forced to take the stairs in some cities where building management suspended elevator services to conserve electricity. On Sunday, the provincial energy administration in China’s southern Guangdong province called for residents to stop using air conditioning and rely on natural light instead of electric bulbs.
Ordinarily, Chinese authorities spare household consumers from the shock of power outages, preferring to force industrial users to scale back their energy usage first—which they have. On Sunday, several Apple and Tesla suppliers announced days-long factory closures to comply with orders from local authorities to ration electricity.
Besides impacting industrial production, ordinary Chinese are also suffering as winter approaches. “Millions of households in the north-east of the country have … lost power and found that they cannot use electricity to heat or light their homes,” the British newspaper Guardian noted.
The Chinese energy crisis is expected to drive the global fuel prices as Beijing orders state-run companies to secure fuel in the global market “at all costs.”
“The natural gas crunch hitting the UK and Europe is likely to intensify after China ordered state-backed companies to secure energy supplies no matter the cost,” UK’s Financial Times reported on Thursday.
It’s not just a blow to China’s export-oriented economy. The energy crisis exposes Beijing’s empty pro-climate change stance. Last month, China announced divesting from coal power projects as part of its global Belt and Road initiative. The Communist regime also pledged to go “carbon-neutral” by 2060.
Faced with the power crisis, Beijing is now boosting its coal consumption. “China is paying the most on record for the dirtiest type of coal,” Bloomberg reported last week.
China’s vague pledges have thrilled media commentators and ‘climate’ activists. Al Gore hopes that Beijing will make even grander promises at the next month’s global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. “China could surprise the world at Glasgow,” Gore declared on Monday.
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