China coal-to-gas switch delayed to avert heating crisis

A man shovels coal he uses to heat his home in his courtyard in a village in China's Hebei province, December 5, 2017.Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Coal-fired heating has been China’s favourite fuel but the environmental concerns have pushed the government to convert to cleaner alternatives

The Chinese government has scaled back its ambitious plans to eradicate coal-fired heating for this winter amid shortage of gas.

Beijing had ordered the nation’s northern provinces to convert from coal to cleaner fuel by the end of this year to reduce pollution.

However, in many places the transition has not completed or gas supplies proved inadequate,

Millions have reportedly been left without proper heating.

China’s Ministry of Environment had issued a statement telling the northern regions that have not finished converting to gas or electric heating may burn coal, the South China Morning Post reported.

“Keeping people warm in winter should be the number one principle,” the statement said.

Separately the Chinese National Petroleum Corp said on Thursday that the country might face shortage of gas if “extreme” cold weather hit the country.

As part of an ambitious plan to curb air pollution, the government started a coal-to-gas project that stretches across 28 provinces in the northern regions.

More than four million homes and thousands of factories have already set up gas-fired radiators, which has led to a surge of domestic gas prices to record highs since the start of the winter heating season in mid-November.

China coal-to-gas switch delayed to avert heating crisis}

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