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Gas shortage hampers efforts to reduce coal use

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World Coal,

A lack of natural gas has hampered efforts in some of China’s most polluted cities to wean themselves off coal, China’s official news agency, Xinhua, has reported.

The Bejing-Tianjin-Hebei region – which was named as China’s most polluted last year – had agreed to burn 63 million t less coal this in an effort to improve air quality. But both Tianjin and Hebei have reported shortages of natural gas as supply to the capital has been prioritised.

Hebei reported a gas shortfall of 6 million cubic meters since in started to reduce coal consumptions, Wang Lugang, deputy head of environmental protection in the province, told Xinhua. Meanwhile a target to convert some coal-fired power plants and produce 60% of heat from natural gas will not be met as natural gas boilers stand idle due to lack of fuel, said Wen Wurei, the municipality’s head of environmental protection.

The shortage of gas has led some to question the efficacy of the policy, suggesting that a change to higher-quality coals could provide a more sustainable way of raising air quality. A subsidy of between 400 and 600 yuan has been introduced in Beijing and some surrounding counties to help bring the price of cleaner coal down to that of more-polluting low-quality coal. But in Hebei, the subsidy is available in only a few locations.

"The subsidy should cover more places in Hebei province," Zhang Lunliang, an official with the provincial Department of Environmental Protection, told Xinhua. "People will be willing to buy the clean coal if it costs less."

Edited from various sources by

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