Business / Green China

Cleaner Beijing, moaning neighbors

By Zheng Xin ( Updated: 2013-11-01 08:50

Coal is once again under the spotlight as winter's chill approaches.

As part of the coal use reduction plan, more than 100 coal-fired boilers that provide heat for more than 200,000 households will be replaced with natural gas in the capital's downtown in November.

The city's environmental protection bureau is proud of the initiative, considering more than 600,000 tons of coal will be prevented from generating 1,392 tons of dust and 1,680 tons of sulfur dioxide annually.

However, despite the decreased sulfur dioxide, the capital's use of clean energy might burden provinces and regions.

According to the city's environmental protection bureau, the city has built pipelines so that the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Shaanxi province, Heibei province and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region can transfer natural gas to Beijing's 20 million residents.

Beijing is fortunate to have the option of gas but exporting provinces regions will, to use the vernacular, may feel the heat.

Despite no official complaints from these provinces and regions, some of my friends there complained the energy transfer has led to poverty and overexploitation of local resources.

In addition, the government has not yet released the cost of the 12-year project. But statistics from the bureau suggest that, in 2013 alone, it cost the government 1.3 billion yuan, ($213 million).

Whether the significant investment and cooperation of provinces and regions nationwide is worth it, or will bring the capital blue-sky days, remains shrouded, if not in smog, then ambiguity.

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