Climate Brief: China's cities begin to darken as warming enhanced rainfall floods their coal mines

… and, winter is coming.

China, already in a significant energy crunch, has been experiencing energy shortages due to extreme weather, a surge in demand, and a fledgling effort to reduce CO2 emissions. It is a triple whammy for the country that produces the second-highest global greenhouse emissions in the world after the United States.

The last thing China needs is a remarkable rainfall in NE China that has flooded the provinces of Shanxi and Shaanxi, which contains the coal mines and other extraction industries that drive their economy.

In a recent merger, China consolidated five enormous coal mines into a mega coal producer that ties the output of Australia for the most filthy energy source on earth.

China has already ordered coal companies in Mongolia to up production overriding the transition to clean energy that dictator Xi Jinping had promised. Coal provides sixty percent of the power in China.

Two million people have been affected by the heavy rainfall that fell from October 4th to the 6th. The flooding is more extensive than the rain that fell in Henan province this past summer,  drowning hundreds of people, some of whom were trapped in subway tunnels. Because this is China, news reports are screened by the government and not always truthful. There were dead bodies all over Zhenzhou, I don’t trust their numbers.

 Reporting by the BBC said rescuers' instructions by megaphone to stranded people were “children should be held over people's heads, and the elderly and ladies should be allowed to walk ashore first during the rescue.  Don't panic, everyone will be rescued.” Agricultural land was inundated adding to the gloom of a looming worldwide food shortage.

The unrelenting rainfall has wreaked havoc throughout China not only this year but last year as well. Warming oceans cause an increase in water vapor in the atmosphere that leads to massive rainfall events. 

This flooding will exacerbate the global energy shortage as winter approaches amidst projected food shortages. Do not expect coal emissions to drop pretty much anywhere soon.

  • October 11, 2021