China relies on coal for 70 percent of its energy needs. For years, small illegal coal mines in the province of Shanxi provided Beijing and its surroundings with a good deal of coal but so many of the mines would collapse or explode, and so many miners would die, (over 1,600 nationwide last year according to official figures) that the local authorities have closed most of them down.
That’s all very well, but China being China, the province of Inner Mongolia, to the North of Shanxi, has taken up the slack. And an awful lot of the trucks currently snarled on the G110 expressway to Beijing are carrying coal mined illegally in Inner Mongolia.
They are taking the G110, drivers explained to the daily Beijing News, because there are no coal checkpoints on that highway, so they don’t have to bribe any inspectors to turn a blind eye to their illegal loads.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
More on the Beijing traffic jam: blame coal
The Christian Science Monitor argues that the Chinese reliance on coal is to blame. From the story: