As sub-zero temperatures grip Northern China, a natural gas shortage is fueling an unprecedented campaign for clean energy, according to Reuters.

Ten government agencies announced Sunday that half of the region’s heating demands will be met with clean energy by 2019. The plan will then try to cover 70% of the region by 2021.

The government will ultimately invest in clean energy sources such as geothermal heating solar heating, and industrial waste heating, among others, Reuters reports.  

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Although it’s meant to shore up the region’s energy security, it’s also an acceleration of efforts to cut greenhouse emissions.

Going into this winter, the government had intended to heat millions of households and businesses with natural gas instead of coal, which releases more emissions.

That plan collapsed when the country’s natural gas supply failed to meet demand, partly because imports plummeted, Reuters reports.

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Currently, the country is facing a daily shortage of up to 30 million tons of natural gas, which is causing widespread turmoil in the region, according to South China Morning Post, and forcing the government to divert huge quantities of natural gas from the south.

The shortage has caused factories to close, disrupted supply chains, and endangered people who are enduring freezing temperatures with intermittent heat, South China Morning Post reports.

Rather than revert to coal, the government is banking on clean energy, which reflects growing urgency throughout the country to confront climate change.

This past year, China announced a $361 billion clean energy investment plan, shuddered pollution-heavy factories, called for the end of gasoline-powered cars, and assumed a more prominent role in global climate talks.

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This latest move (details of which have not been released) is another sign that switching to clean energy is not only good for the environment, but it can also make a country’s energy grid more secure.

Global Citizen campaigns on the global goals, which call for investments in clean energy. You can take action on this issue here.


Defend the Planet

China Unveils Massive Clean Energy Plan Amid Natural Gas Shortages

By Joe McCarthy