[Stoves] FW: [stove and climate] More mind-blowing insights from China

Anderson, Paul psanders at ilstu.edu
Sun Jul 22 06:18:24 MDT 2018


Below is a message that Kirk Smith sent to his [Stove and Climate] list that I and some others are on.   VERY interesting!


From: Kirk R. SMITH <krksmith at berkeley.edu>
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2018 12:34 AM
To: Kirk R. SMITH <krksmith at berkeley.edu>
Subject: [stove and climate] More mind-blowing insights from China

I just spent a week in China, repeating again the experience I have had in recent years – everything is changing rapidly and it is nigh impossible to keep up between visits.

With PKU colleagues, I visited the Jining area in Shandong Province, some 2.5 hours south of Beijing by fast train (300 km/h).  Even though 600 km away, Shandong is in the new air pollution control region for the northern plain area including Beijing established after the terrible episodes in 2013.    As part of a range of new measures to control ambient pollution, they are planning to introduce clean fuels to 80% of all coal/biomass-using households, which total some 1.1 million in the Jining area, in 3 years.   To date, some 70k have had gas (a few electricity) introduced and 160k more are planned before next winter.  This is not the rate they need, but they have plans to pick it up.  PKU has a project to evaluate less expensive alternatives, but currently the area mainly hopes to introduce gas and electricity.

This is actual natural gas, however, not LPG.  It was like witnessing something that I had always thought impossible (cows flying perhaps), to see villages with well-made natural gas pipelines supplying everyone – both for heating and cooking.    There must be a density of villages below which it does not pay to put in pipelines, but these villages were kilometers apart.  Interestingly, the pipelines are being put in by private companies, but the cost of fuel is subsidized by the government at present.  (We need to understand the economics better, also why LPG does not seem to be part of the program, although available now.)   They are already seeing potential constraints on gas supply given the expansion rates being contemplated, but seem to feel that this can be managed soon.

No stacking in evidence according to colleagues, although some households using electricity for heating kept temperatures low last winter (and wore more clothes) because they perceived costs of electricity to be high.  A kind of reversal of the usual practice of the poor having become used to once a year payment for a pile of coal, now see monthly bills as more expensive.  Even though, through subsidies on the power, the actual power cost is less.  Does not seem to be an issue with the gas.  It should be noted, however, that use of coal is officially illegal now if a village has gas or electric options, although hard to know how well this is enforced.

The mayor hosted us for dinner and waxed enthusiastic about the air pollution control program although complaining a bit that it takes one-third of his time and he continually gets pressure from the central government about progress.  Colleagues say that 10k (yes!) inspectors are now employed in the 26 subregions of the northern plain area by the central government to make sure the air pollution control measures are being taken up.

Ironic to say the least that household solid fuels are targeted because of outdoor air pollution (in Beijing 600 km away, actually) with no recognition of the pollution benefits to households – the mayor, for example, indicated no awareness of the HAP issue, although noting the social benefits of clean fuels.   But probably we should be happy nevertheless – any port in a storm as the English expression goes.

What a remarkable change and one, in its way, equal to the massive LPG program in India. /k

Kirk R. Smith, MPH, PhD <krksmith at berkeley.edu<mailto:krksmith at berkeley.edu>>
Professor of Global Environmental Health
University of California Berkeley, 94720-7360 USA
Director, Collaborative Clean Air Policy Centre, Delhi;  https://ccapc.org.in/
Darbari Seth Block, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, 110003
Delhi cell: (91) 99587 38713

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