A not so widely known fact is that China almost consumes as much coal as the rest of the world combined, where it accounts for 80% of the countries source for energy. This is an alarming trend considering that the burning of this fossil fuel is one of the most polluting ways to generate electricity. In an economy where manufacturing and industry is on the rise this further adds to our concern.
However, this may soon be about to change! Given the high levels of pollution in the country, particularly in industrial cities and around Beijing (where often daily particulate matter in the air can cause respiratory problems for even the healthy) people are sick of this issue and the government is listening. A number of measures have been announced that should help to curb this trend; firstly the country has introduced bans on the building of new coal fired power plants and place limits on total energy consumption. These legislative measures will be complemented with an emissions trading scheme, due to be implemented by 2016, bringing the country up to speed with the developed economies of Europe and New Zealand.
There are signs that this move is working too, with coal imports at their lowest since 2012 despite prices being at their lowest since the peak of early 2011. This is complemented by banning of extremely low quality coal imports, particularly varieties containing high levels of sulfur and ash whose burning produces the highest levels of pollutants.
As a responsible and socially aware Metal supplying and manufacturing company based in China (with global offices) with heavy involvement in the metals and mining industries,Shanghai Metal Corporation (SMC) is proud to report on this news and welcomes developments in this area as it will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the quality of life of many everyday Chinese.
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Dominick F.//SMC Editor
Adapted from: Frik Els. Images: National Geographic; Green Media;