Shortages Everywhere Including Power Outages Caused By a Shortage of Coal


by Mish Shedlock, The Street:

Ahead of the Glasgow climate summit, Chinese coal demands put a spotlight on challenges to weaning the world off a polluting fossil fuel.

No matter what your take on climate change, it’s hard to make any progress without China. But guess what China’s doing.

Please note China Orders Coal Mines to Increase Production as power shortages bite.


Authorities in Inner Mongolia, China’s second largest coal-producing province, have asked 72 mines to boost production by a total of 98.4 million metric tons, according to state-owned Securities Times and the China Securities Journal, citing a document from Inner Mongolia’s Energy Administration. The order, which was approved on Thursday, took effect immediately, the state media outlets said.

The figure is equivalent to about 30% of China’s monthly coal production, according to recent government data. Inner Mongolia’s energy authorities didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by CNN Business.

Power shortages have spread to 20 provinces in recent weeks, forcing the government to ration electricity during peak hours and some factories to suspend production. These disruptions resulted in a sharp drop in industrial output last month and weighed on the outlook for China’s economy.

The order comes only days after China’s top economic planning agency asked the country’s three biggest coal producing provinces — Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, and Shaanxi — to deliver 145 million metric tons of coal in the fourth quarter, so that the “livelihood use of coal” is not interrupted, according to separate statements by the provincial authorities last week.

Coal Shortages Push Up Prices

The Wall Street Journal reports Coal Shortages Push Up Prices, Weigh on Economies

Coal supply shortages are pushing prices for the fuel to record highs and laying bare the challenges to weaning the global economy off one of its most important—and polluting—energy sources.

The crunch has many causes—from the post-pandemic boom to supply-chain strains and ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions. And it is expected to last at least through the winter, raising fears in many countries of fuel shortfalls in the months ahead.

Australia’s Newcastle thermal coal, a global benchmark, is trading at $202 a metric ton, three times higher than at the end of 2019. Global production of coal, which generates around 40% of the world’s electricity, is about 5% below pre-pandemic levels.

In Europe, the rising prices for coal and other energy resources have hit factory output and driven household energy bills higher. Major coal importers in Asia, including Japan and South Korea, are jostling to secure supplies.

In China, dwindling supplies and surging costs have resulted in electricity shortfalls on a scale unseen in more than a decade, hitting industry and prompting some cities to turn off traffic lights to conserve power.

Globally, coal supply hasn’t kept pace with demand driven by the buoyant economic recovery world-wide after last year’s pandemic slump.

Glasgow Climate Summit 

The COP26 Climate Summit is in Glasgow, UK. It runs from October 31 to November 12, 2021.

COP stands for the conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which set the stage for all international cooperation on climate. The COP is the top decision-making body for implementing the Convention and follow-up instruments like the 2015 Paris Agreement. Generally meeting once a year, the COP reviews national reports on emissions reductions and other climate measures. Glasgow will host the twenty-sixth COP.

Top Priorities 

  1. Keep global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius through rapid, bold emissions cuts and net-zero commitments.
  2. Increase international finance for adaptation to at least half the total spent on climate action.
  3. Meet the existing commitment to provide $100 billion in international climate finance each year so that developing countries can invest in green technologies, and protect lives and livelihoods against worsening climate impacts.

COP 26 Details 

The Washington Post has COP26 Details.

Tens of thousands of people from every corner of the globe are preparing to gather in Glasgow for a two-week United Nations summit that could shape how — and whether — the world effectively slows climate change in the years ahead.

Irony abounds. If activists were so concerned, perhaps they would stay home and do this summit virtually instead of jet-setting tens of thousands of people to discuss ways to reduce emissions.

Compounding the irony: “Climate protesters are planning to arrive in force to demand that world leaders match their rhetoric with real-world action.”

Questions Abound

  • What about Covid concerns of putting tens of thousands of people from all over the globe together?
  • Where is the great social distancer when you need one?

Already a Failure

Top officials have made clear their desire to finally “consign coal to history,” in the words of Alok Sharma, the U.K. politician serving as president of COP26.

In late 2015, nations agreed to work together to limit the warming of the planet to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and, if possible, to stop at 1.5 Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

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