China Briefing, 14 October 2021: Instructions to tackle power shortages; COP15 opens; Carbon-neutrality standards

COAL IMPORTS: Chinas imports of coal and natural gas “increased sharply” last month in the middle of “a spiralling energy crisis”, the Financial Times reported. The country imported 32.9 m tonnes of coal, 76% more than the same period last year, the outlet stated, citing “custom-mades data”. When it comes to natural gas, Chinese imports clocked in at 10.6 m tonnes, increasing by 23% year-on-year, it added. Reuters reported that “flooding in a crucial coal-producing province has aggravated the supply outlook”. It said that electrical power scarcities and rationing are expected to “continue into early next year”, according to “analysts”..

HOW: Prof Yuan Jiahai from the North China Electric Power University in Beijing told Carbon Brief that “the fundamental cause of the massive power scarcities in China presently … is the insufficient supply of coal”. In comparison, on the demand side, Chinas post-Covid economic rebound and skyrocketing export orders drummed up the nations energy intake, putting further stress on Chinas energy supply.

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WHERE: At least 20 out of the nations 30-plus provincial-level regions have actually experienced blackouts and electricity rationing over the area of a month approximately, according to Jiemian News, a Shanghai-based outlet. In the 3 provinces in north-eastern China– namely Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang– the electricity shortages have not only affected factories, but also individualss homes, sparking heated dispute on Chinese social media platforms..

Xis address focused on Chinas efforts in nature conservation, environmental security and dealing with climate modification. On the climate front, Xi announced that China would “launch application strategies for peaking carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in key areas and sectors as well as a series of supporting steps”.

China prepares to “set up requirements” on emissions peaking and carbon neutrality. According to a federal government summary, the nation means to “create greenhouse gas emission requirements for key markets and products and enhance the standard labelling system for low-carbon products,” reported state media..


XIE ZHENHUA: Chinas climate envoy Xie Zhenhua stated that the country “is identified to” peak its emissions and accomplish carbon neutrality “on time”. Speaking at a market online forum in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, through video link on Tuesday, Xie stated that China “is accelerating its low-carbon shift and innovation” prior to stressing that the nation “indicates what it states and yields concrete outcomes by its action”. He reasserted that Beijing would publish a high-level structure, carbon-peaking action plans and supporting steps for essential industries “quickly, in a gradual method”. China News Service, a state-run newswire, reported the story..

Chinas leadership has actually provided directions to the energy sector in the wake of widespread power lacks. These orders originated from 2 high-level conferences– both chaired by the Chinese premier Li Keqiang– and a notification released by the state macroeconomic organizer. The Other Day, Carbon Brief published a short article evaluating these regulations.

On Tuesday, Chinas president Xi Jinping provided a virtual keynote speech at COP15, a UN biodiversity conference taking place in the country. Among other things, President Xi duplicated Chinas promise to release a series of sectoral roadmaps and a national policy system to assist it satisfy its climate promises. Carbon Briefs Cropped newsletter concentrated on the top this week.

RAINSTORMS: Continuous and severe downpours have actually impacted the production and supply of coal in Shanxi, Chinas leading coal-producing area, according to Caixin. The provincial government stated last Friday that rain-triggered flooding had led 60 regional coal mines to stop their operation given that 2 October. Citing “numerous market observers”, Caixin reported that the suspension would unlikely trigger an influence on the countrys present efforts to enhance coal production. It said that the impacted coal mines had “fairly small production capacities”, adding that coal production and road transport were “slowly resuming”..

According to the Shanghai-based news website, Li Ming, deputy engineer-general of the State Grid, said at a press briefing the other day that northern China could see more power scarcities this winter season due to rising power demand, shrinking hydropower output, and heating needs. Li predicted the maximum electrical energy load to reach 1,000 gigawatts (GW), a “record-breaking” figure, the outlet said. Dr Shi Xunpeng from the Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney, informed Carbon Brief that it is a great thing that the Chinese federal government is “adjusting its rate” for its energy shift with the current orders.

Xi declares Chinas climate ambition in speech at COP15.

Invite to Carbon Quicks China weekly digest. We handpick and discuss the most essential environment and energy stories from China over the previous seven days.

A brand-new research study has actually discovered that China could reach rate parity in between coal power and solar power with storage by the year 2030. The authors utilized an integrated model to evaluate technological advances and cost decreases in photovoltaic power over 2020-60. They discovered that by 2060, solar energy matched with grid-compatible energy storage might satisfy more than 40% of the countrys electrical power requires at a cost below 2.5 US cents/kWh. According to the authors, these results recommended that solar energy could become a less expensive and “more grid-compatible alternative” than coal-fired electricity.

Extra reading.

WHERE: COP15 is taking place in Kunming, the capital of southern Chinas Yunnan province. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference has actually been divided into 2 phases.

Combined solar power and storage as grid-compatible and cost-competitive supply for Chinas future carbon-neutral electrical power systemProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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LAY OUT DETAILS: In specific, the summary orders the nation to “accelerate improving the standards for carbon emission verification and accounting for various regions, industries, items and enterprises”. It directs the nation to “formulate greenhouse gas emission standards for essential markets and items and enhance the basic labelling system for low-carbon items”. It calls for standards for renewable energy, carbon sinks, as well as carbon utilisation, capture and storage. Check out the full overview here..

WHEN: On Tuesday, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the state macroeconomic organizer, launched a notice to follow up on the State Councils orders. An essential message is that coal-fired power costs– which are mainly state-controlled– will be enabled to fluctuate by approximately 20% from standard levels, compared to the 10% upward limit and 15% downward limit previously. The relocation addresses among the driving forces of the power scarcities: coal power companies had actually been producing less electrical power because they had to buy coal at high rates but sold their power at lower, mainly state-determined rates..

More than 100 countries adopted the statement at the end of COP15s leaders summit on Wednesday. Some problems, such as financing the preservation efforts in poorer nations, “have been left to talk about later”, the newswire said.

Chinas state media hailed COP15 as “a landmark conference in the history of the Convention on Biological Diversity”. South China Morning Post reported that, with both COP15 and COP26 being held this year, “there are growing calls to link biodiversity with environment issues and find services to solve these crises”.

TRANSPORTATION: Chinas president Xi provided a virtual keynote address at the opening ceremony of the second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference today, CCTV reported. To name a few things, Xi announced that China would establish a China International Sustainable Transport Innovation and Knowledge Centre to “contribute to the advancement of global transportation”, according to the official channel. The conference opened on Thursday in Beijing and will last till Saturday..

China takes series of steps to deal with power shortages.

CARBON STANDARDS: Chinas main federal government has actually stated that it intends to “set up and improve requirements for carbon peak and carbon neutrality”. Xinhua said that the guideline belonged to a summary to promote “standardised development” at the national level in the countrys pursuit of “high-quality advancement and modernisation”. The document was collectively released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.

Key advancements.

COP26: The UK is to “take out all the stops” to convince critical countries, including China, to step up their environment action at COP26 in Glasgow, the Daily Telegraph reported. In an “unique”, the paper said that the Queen is anticipated to attend the environment top “for a diplomatic reception”. Prince Charles and Prince William are also due to “deal with the conference and hold talks with key world leaders”, it included. Xi has yet to confirm his attendance at COP26. Alok Sharma, president-designate for COP26, formerly stated that the “ball is in Chinas court” to ensure COP26s success.

WHAT ELSE: In addition, Xi said that China would “continue to adjust its commercial structure and energy mix” and “vigorously develop eco-friendly energy”. He assured to “make faster progress” in planning and establishing “large” wind and solar power bases “in sandy locations, rocky areas and deserts”.

AVIATION: Chinas very first “carbon-neutral flight” removed from Shanghai for Beijing on Tuesday, China Youth Daily reported. The provider, China Eastern Airlines, achieved “carbon neutrality” for the flights entire life process by offsetting its CO2 emissions through various methods, such as participating in tree-planting and clean-energy-generation programmes, the paper stated. The flight took about an hour and a half. China Eastern Airlines– one of Chinas “huge three” state-run carriers– stated it prepared to run around 780 “carbon-neutral flights” from now until 10 December on popular routes. The news came after the International Air Transport Association (IATA)– of which China Eastern is a member– had devoted to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Read recentlys China Briefing for more.

WHAT: Last week, Chinas premier Li chaired 2 high-level conferences, which released orders to take on widespread power scarcities. The first conference occurred on Friday and was held by the State Council, Chinas highest organ of state administration. It offered six guidelines, including making sure coal and electrical power materials this winter, increasing coal production capacity and modifying the electrical energy pricing mechanism. One day later, the National Energy Committee (NEC)– which is considered the countrys “most senior body for coordinating energy policy”– called the second conference. It directed the country to boost its capabilities of ensuring energy security and increase its “energy self-sufficiency”, to name a few things. CCTV, the state broadcaster, reported on both conferences (here and here). Read Carbon Briefs analysis to understand the significance of the directions.

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HOW: Prof Yuan Jiahai from the North China Electric Power University in Beijing informed Carbon Brief that “the essential cause of the large-scale power shortages in China currently … is the inadequate supply of coal”. In contrast, on the need side, Chinas post-Covid economic rebound and soaring export orders drummed up the countrys energy intake, putting more stress on Chinas energy supply. Among other things, Xi revealed that China would develop a China International Sustainable Transport Innovation and Knowledge Centre to “contribute to the development of global transport”, according to the official channel. AVIATION: Chinas very first “carbon-neutral flight” took off from Shanghai for Beijing on Tuesday, China Youth Daily reported. China Eastern Airlines– one of Chinas “big three” state-run providers– stated it prepared to operate around 780 “carbon-neutral flights” from now until 10 December on popular routes.