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China’s cities face up to summer power shortages
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China’s cities face up to summer power shortages

At least two Chinese cities face electricity shortages this summer as currently installed generation capacity struggles to meet peak demands. The predicted shortages highlight the potential for new onsite generating capacity to make a contribution to China’s energy supply portfolio.

Beijing’s Municipal Development and Reform Commission is reported to have set charges for the use of electricity in the city at peak hours at 0.94 Yuan (US$0.11) this summer, more than quadruple the charges in low-use periods. The new peakhour price, the first of its kind in China, was set to alleviate the capital’s imminent pressure on the power supply.

The Commission has also decided to interrupt power supplies to industrial users periodically so that no important construction programmes related to the 2008 Olympic Games will be blacked out. Meanwhile, the Commission called on governmental institutions and citizens to be more aware of power shortage and save as much electricity as possible.

– needed to tackle climate change

High-level representatives from the US and Australia – countries that have rejected the Kyoto Protocol – have joined with Britain’s Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) to campaign for international action to tackle climate change. The international task force, established by the Center for American Progress and the Australia Institute along with the ippr, has called on the G8 group of countries to create a ‘G8-Plus Climate Group’ to engage the US and major developing countries in action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The task force says that such a group would provide a way for G8 countries and other major economies – including India and China – to take action that would lead to large-scale reductions in emissions. The Group could pursue partnerships to achieve immediate deployment of existing low-carbon energy technologies.

The report also argues that all G8 countries should set a lead by adopting national targets to generate at least 25% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 and mandatory cap-and-trade schemes for emissions, like the EU scheme. In the US, this could happen through the Climate Stewardship Act, proposed by Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman, and could provide a path for US re-entry into a global climate change agreement after the Kyoto Protocol’s first phase ends in 2012.

Other recommendations of the task force include a call for G8 governments to increase their spending on research, development and demonstration of advanced technologies for energy efficiency and low- and zero-carbon energy supply by twofold or more by 2010.

The task force also calls on governments to agree to a long-term objective of preventing global temperature from rising by more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. And the report talks of the need for a step-change in financial and technical assistance for developing countries to adapt to climate change.