North China allows temporary use of coal for heating

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/7 22:03:40

Cities are allowed to use coal for heating in winter if cleaner fuel is unavailable, China's environment manager said on Thursday.

In the heating season, cities and regions not equipped with electrically-controlled or natural gas heating facilities can use coal-fired furnaces or other options for heating, the Ministry of Environmental Protection confirmed with the Global Times on Thursday.

The notice was released to 28 city governments in northern China on Monday in the list of places which are banned from using coal.

The MEP's response comes after reports said many cities and regions suffer from a shortage of electricity or natural gas in winter due to the delayed construction of heating facilities. Some regions resent the shortfall of heating facilities, the Global Times learned.

Students at some rural primary schools in North China's Hebei Province reportedly had to bathe in the sun to keep warm as their heating equipment still have to be completed, China Youth Daily reported earlier.

Hebei Province raised an orange alert for a shortage of natural gas last week, which means the province is short by 10 to 20 percent, news portal Caixin had reported. Other areas in northern China, including Shaanxi and Shandong provinces, reportedly suffered similar problems.

The MEP also asked local governments to ensure a stable supply and price of natural gas and electricity.

"When problems occur, industrial heating has to give way to civilian use of gas and electricity," it said.

The price of liquid natural gas has risen 60.2 percent since September, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Tuesday, citing the National Bureau of Statistics.

Lin Boqiang, director of Xiamen University's China Center for Energy Economics Research, praised the MEP's timely response, saying "the public's need for heating in winter should come ahead of environmental considerations."

"That doesn't mean China will end its campaign against the use of coal. The MEP's compromise on the use of coal is merely temporary," Lin told the Global Times on Thursday.



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