The Chinese Santa workshop stays dark

The escalators and air conditioning have stopped working within the vast complex of more than four million square meters divided into five districts that welcom

The Chinese Santa workshop stays dark

The escalators and air conditioning have stopped working within the vast complex of more than four million square meters divided into five districts that welcomes 75,000 stores. It is the mother of all Chinese bazaars: there is a whole plant dedicated only to plastic flowers, another with millions of headbands, hair gums and quilts, a district with more than 1,000 posts in which they only sell toys ...

Yiwu, a city in eastern China who does not reach a million and a half of inhabitants, and was already absorbed by the largest basic product market in the world. Although above all it jumped to fame for selling 60% of all the Christmas paraphernalia that in a normal year would end in December at the reader's house that is reading these lines. But two years ago that nothing is normal.

In the Yiwu market, the escalators no longer work due to energy rationing. There are many stores that have closed because the factories that supply products have had to cut or suspend production.

"This is difficult to make a living. The prices of raw materials have skyrocketed, but production is restricted and our profits are being reduced," Protesté He Meiling, owner of a packaging factory that is in a polygon near the market. Yiwu, where the buzzing of diesel generators is constant because some manufacturers have had to resort to them to keep machines running.

"Even if we use generators to maintain production, by noise we can not operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as we did before. Those who are close to residential areas have to stop working at night and ends Weekends so that neighbors do not protest. Many small factories We can not cover the demand and we will go to ruin, "explains Ding Anding, owner of a Christmas sock and scarves factory.

Another manufacturer of Christmas lights and trees, Chen Jiang, explained to Bloomberg who had climbed its prices on more than 10% since June due to the increased costs of materials, as well as the power cuts that have forced their factory To reduce production three days a week. According to Chen, more than one million yuan (135,000 euros) on orders that would normally have been sent mid-month had not yet left Yiwu due to delays in logistics.

It all started by one of the worst energy crisis at the largest manufacturing center in the world. Many companies from all over China were forced to cut production because the country's electricity network could not meet the demand for coal while serving the national policy towards a green transition. In 2020, according to a study by the Ember Research Group, China consumed more coal, its main source of energy, which all other countries in the world together.

To meet climate objectives, several provinces have been imposing restrictions on the use of electricity, particularly to companies in energy-intensive industries such as steel, printing, textiles, wood, chemicals, plastics and goodbye, which meant more For global supply chains.

In September, the blackouts began at high consumption rush in many factories, but also in some households of large southern industrial centers such as Guangdong, going through commercial enclaves such as Yiwu, and especially in the so-called rust belt that form the northern provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang.

"Part of the problem is that the economic rebound after the Covid closures has promoted the demand for coal, while the lowest investment of miners and drillers has limited production. But the crisis in China is partly due to its own agenda. Environmental, since the vision of President Xi Jinping of decarbonizing the economy discouraged the burning of coal, a source of cheap energy that subsidized its economic growth for decades, "underlines a Bloomberg analysis.

"While the world discusses more aggressive cuts of carbon emissions at COP26, China has just sent the worst signal by loosening the restrictions on coal mining in the last three months of the year in response to an energy crisis that has caused blackouts Throughout the country and pushed manufacturers closed their production lines in recent weeks, "explains Professor Jun Du, Director of the Center for Business Prosperity of Aston Business School (United Kingdom).

Beijing has ordered to raise the production of coal to guarantee the winter supply. "China will now extract more coal in 2021 than the 3,900 million tons of 2020, in addition to importing more places such as Australia. The measure goes against the strong rhetoric of President Xi Jinping on Decarbonization. And it raises doubts about the capacity of the nation to comply with the strict carbon reduction targets in its fourteenth five-year plan up to 2025, "continues Jun.

China has the so-called dual control objective for national environmental protection, which consists of reducing both energy consumption and the amount of energy that is intended for each GDP unit (known as energy intensity). The Asian country now aims to reduce energy intensity by 13.5% by 2025 and carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 18%, with the final purpose of reducing total carbon emissions by 2030.

To this end, the Government has been closing small and inefficient mines and putting restrictions on the production of coal, which has raised prices until reaching a historic maximum on October 19. Carbon futures have now been reduced by almost half after the meeting of last week from the National Development Commission and reform with producers.

Beijing published before the beginning of the COP26 its plan to achieve the peak of emissions before 2030, which also collects the objectives of bringing the wind and solar capacity to 1,200 gigavatios by the end of this decade, to build more hydroelectric and nuclear power plants, and develop Further its natural gas resources.

Updated Date: 07 November 2021, 03:48

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