In a time when Western superpowers are furiously pushing for a multi-trillion spending bonanza under the cover of global warming as a virtue-signaling justification, and holding lengthy G20 boondoggles in Venice (which miraculously still isn’t under 30 feet of water) to demonstrate just how serious they are, China – the world’s biggest polluter – is doing its thing.
On Thursday, the state-planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that China will release more than 10 million tonnes of coal from its state reserves, with the potential for further releases in line with market demand. The biggest release of highly-polluting coal from China’s state reserves this year is aimed at steadying surging prices on the back of strong industrial activity the SCMP reported, although the move is unlikely to lead to a significant increase in imports, analysts said.
Coal has been released from Chinese state reserves four times so far this year, amounting to 5 million tonnes in total, although these figures are tiny in comparison to China’s raw coal production which was estimated to be around 320 million tonnes in June, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. It’s also why a recent study found that almost all of the world’s 25 most polluted cities are in China.
The nation now has about 40 million tonnes of coal in its reserve bases.
Power loads in several eastern and southern regions, including the business hub of Shanghai, hit historic highs this week as hot weather boosted use of air-conditioning and analysts expect that average coal inventories at six coal-fired power plants in eastern China have fallen to less than 15 days worth of consumption.
“The NDRC has announced plans to try and reduce domestic coal prices, so the release of additional volumes could be in response to this and to potentially ease the rise in domestic coal prices,” said Matthew Boyle, head of coal and Asia power at S&P Global Platts Analytics.
“Chinese domestic coal production for the January to June 2021 period is up 6.9 per cent year on year and 9.9 per cent higher on 2019 production.”
Just spitballing here, but it sure doesn’t look like all the hot air spewed by the Blackrocks and Paris Treaties of the world have had any impact on China’s actions.
The latest move by NDRC follows record coal imports in June, which rose 35% from a month earlier, although China’s total coal imports in the first half of 2021 are still down year on year. This could partly be attributed to China’s unofficial import restrictions which have been in place on various Australian products, including coal, since March 2020 amid souring relations between Beijing and Canberra.
China’s thermal coal imports used for energy generation, for which Australia has traditionally been a significant supplier, hit 115 million tonnes between January to June, down around 21 million tonnes year on year, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.
Dennis Ip, the regional head of power, utilities, renewables and environment research at Daiwa Capital Markets, said the NDRC’s release of its coal reserves will partially relieve the shortage issue in the summer peak season, given that the inventory at China’s main Qinhuangdao coal transshipment port remains low in July.
“We expect China to continue increasing coal imports from Mongolia, Russia and Indonesia instead of Australia, as China has yet to lift the ban on Australia coal,” said Ip.
Going forward, Platts Analytics believes China is likely to rely on domestic coal supply rather than boosting seaborne coal imports, forecasting China’s thermal coal imports will fall by 68 million tonnes to around 164 million tonnes in 2021. In April, the NDRC urged power plants, mines and major transport hubs to boost coal reserves, while it also pledged to build stockpiles to more than 120 million tonnes in 2021.
Translation: brace for a tsunami of pollution out of China, only this time Beijing can’t blame it on bitcoin mining, which at best accounts for a a tiny fraction of total Chinese greenhouse gas emissions, and now that China has effectively kicked out its bitcoin miners, there is virtually nothing left.
Meanwhile, even as Beijing has banished domestic bitcoin miners, China’s June electricity consumption “mysteriously” rose 9.8% from a year earlier to 703.3 billion kilowatt hours as first-half consumption jumped by 16.2%. A research institute affiliated to China’s State Grid estimated electricity consumption in July will be up about 12% from the same month last year.
We are confident that the patron saint of climate crusaders everywhere, Greta Thunberg, will very soon take her clean air fight straight to Beijing. After all, anything less and some may suggest that she is nothing more than a virtue-signaling fraud.