Lifts have stopped working and street lights have gone dark in Chinese provinces home to millions of people, as authorities ration electricity in the face of rising coal prices and targets to reduce carbon emissions.
Global consumers could also experience a shortage of iPhones and other electronics ahead of Christmas after power cuts to meet energy consumption caps forced factories to halt production.
Cars are stuck in traffic jams, people at home are dusting off torches, and shopkeepers are lighting candles as a last resort.
Cities such as Shenyang and Dalian – home to more than 13 million people – have been affected, with disruption at factories owned by suppliers to global companies like Apple and Tesla.
Enforcing energy caps are a positive for long-term climate change concerns. But idle factories mean widespread implications for snarling global supply chains, and could squeeze growth in the world’s second-largest economy….
China, the world’s largest polluter, is under increasing global pressure to reduce carbon emissions as international climate talks to be held in Glasgow approach.
Beijing itself has also announced significant targets, saying it will reach peak emissions by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2060.
Meeting that target will mean reducing its use of coal, which is still how much of the nation of 1.4 billion gets its electricity.
Coal accounts for roughly 60 per cent of China’s power generation, part of why authorities have sought to limit energy intensity.
Factories have been churning overtime as China’s economy works to bounce back post-pandemic lockdown. A resurgence in global demand came as the world started to return to normality….
Power cuts only solve part of the environment challenge and have thrown up other issues.
The Chinese government has encouraged people to purchase electric vehicles to reduce transport-related pollution. But recent electricity rationing has meant some people haven’t been able to charge up their wheels.
And in a country where nearly everything is linked to smartphones, such as digital wallets, ride-hailing apps, delivery services, and vaccine certificates, being unable to plug them in for more power can be debilitating.
Power limits are a further worry for residents of northern China, which suffers harsh winters.
Past botched energy policy implementations have left millions freezing during cold weather, leaving people wondering if they’ll soon need to brace for cold both inside and outside their homes.