China energy crisis: Expert discusses possible ‘social unrest’
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China is in a state of chaos, with 20 of its 31 provinces introducing some form of energy rationing as a result of reduced supplies, soaring prices and tighter environmental policies enforced by Xi Jinping. The Chinese President has reportedly tightened its “emission standards” for heavy industries which prompted this steep decline in production. This could mean that, as many goods are manufactured in China and exported to the UK, the interruption to factories and utilities will impact a wide range of items usually bought as gifts.
Experts have said it ranges from the newest technology from Apple, which has already halted production at three Chinese factories, to textiles, toys, and even Christmas decorations.
In Kunshan, the location of one of the biggest iPhone assembly lines, ITV reported that work had been suspended until after the National Holiday, which starts today.
It is usually one of their busiest times of the year.
One worker told ITV that there are tens of thousands of workers at a single factory and if the power cuts happen frequently, it will impact the families of those people too.
In Shenyang, northern China, there have been intermittent power outages with emergency generators and batteries being rolled out just so people can keep their businesses open.
Coal shortages are also ripping apart Chinese industry and severely impacting the public too, and with 60 percent of Chinese energy relying on coal, it has resulted in blackouts and power shutdowns to traffic lights and 3G mobile phone networks.
But China is still trying to cut back on its coal ahead of the climate summit to be held in Glasgow in November, COP26, as it is still currently the world’s number one emitter of greenhouse gases.
Rising prices of coal and gas are not helping China either.
Chinese state media have claimed the price spike in coal prices was due to reduced mining production because of safety incidents and anti-graft investigations, as well as limited access to imports.
Meanwhile, gas prices have soared to record highs globally.
But as China began to reopen its economy following the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions, the country has struggled to keep up with the surge in global demand while battling with the country’s energy restrictions, rising prices and shortages.
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Goldman Sachs estimated that up to 44 percent of China’s industrial activity has been affected by power shortages.
Millions of homes in eastern China have also been left without power due to factory shutdowns and power shortages.
In the city of Jilin, a state-owned water services provider sent a warning to residents that power cuts “of indeterminate lengths, at indeterminate times, without plan, without warning” could be the norm for as long as six months.
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