As the United Nation’s COP26 climate conference looms, President Xi Jinping has won international praise for promising that China’s peak carbon emissions would peak before 2030, and the country would achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Provinces have implemented strict energy consumption targets, with offending high-tech manufacturers experiencing power-cuts during peak usage hours. Despite this, analysts have agreed that while China has made statements regarding the decrease in use of fossil fuels in energy production, including plans to stop building coal plants abroad, in the short-term China and other countries have no options but to “increase coal consumption to meet power demand.” As key coal exporter Indonesia experienced heavy rain, affecting their ability to supply coal, and China’s total ban of Australian coal continues, imports of coal in the two quarters of 2021 were 10% lower for the same period in 2020. Ahead of the winter season, the Chinese government has told state-owned energy companies to increase coal production and secure supplies for the coming winter, attempting to prevent further power-cuts to households and avoid potential consumer backlash, as many will consume more energy to power home-heating. Similar trends have been noted in the UK, US and across Asia, as each country’s respective natural and liquid gas prices have soared amid endemic supply issues.
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