This year’s hot weather has increased China’s reliance on Uighur energy

The Uyghur region was hit by the longest hot air current in history this summer, and the temperature in some places such as Kashgar, Hotan, Aksu, Baingolin and so on exceeded 104 degrees Fahrenheit, or 40 degrees Celsius. In Ayding Lake area of ​​the Turpan Basin, the temperature exceeded 50 degrees Celsius, causing floods in some places such as extreme heat. The Chinese government has warned that the warm air flow will cause more flooding, landslides, rapid melting of ice sheets, and the breaching of water reservoirs in places such as Aksu, which could threaten agricultural production.

However, this summer’s extreme heat is not unique to the Uyghur region, but is a national and global phenomenon in China, which has increased the demand for electricity in China. Even some critical industrial areas such as Sichuan province in China were forced to close their factories because they could not supply electricity. The extreme heat, whether in the Uyghur region or in other provinces of China, has caused an increase in the demand for air conditioners in offices and families, and has put pressure on coal-fired power plants in Uyghur, China’s main power generation base.

Increased demand for electricity from coal-fired power plants in the region is known to further increase coal consumption, a key factor in global warming. Stanley Tupps, a retired professor at the University of Miami in the United States, who has been researching Uyghur population and economic geography for many years, said that China’s efforts to meet its energy needs by building more coal-fired power plants in the Uyghur region have created a “slow cycle”.

Professor Stanley Tupps interviewed us on August 18 and said: “You can use water and solar panels to produce electricity. But when you burn coal, it warms the air even more and causes climate change. So China is driving more climate change as it produces more toxic carbon dioxide. This not only affects Xinjiang, but also affects other areas in northern China. Because the wind carries toxic carbon dioxide particles to other parts of China. So it’s a circular motion.”

Stanley Tupps said China’s increased reliance on coal for electricity is a problem in itself. He said that this will lead to more warming in the long run. “It’s better if you generate electricity from water or solar panels,” says Stanley Tupps. But if you burn coal for more electricity, it warms the air in the long run. Overall, China burns a lot of coal. It consumes a lot of coal. To make charcoal a cleaner fuel, you need to wash it. But this requires a lot of water. So, it’s a very complicated issue.”

According to the news of the “South China Morning Post” newspaper in Hong Kong, it is known that the East Junggar open-pit coal mine in Uighur Province, China, has accelerated the amount and speed of coal mining. China’s “Technology Newspaper” recently published a news report on the matter, which is 257 kilometers northeast of Urumqi. The coal mine has 390 billion tons of coal reserves and the authorities have accelerated the construction of coal transportation. It turns out that its coal reserves are 200 times larger than the North Antelope Rochelle coal mine in Wyoming, the world’s largest coal mine, and 150 million tons of coal were extracted from the East Junggar coal mine last year.

Nirola Alima, a researcher at the Helena Kennedy Research Center at the Hallam University of Sheffield in the UK, said that many Chinese companies are located in the East Junggar (Jundong) economic-technological development zone, where they are using coal to produce green energy products.

Nirola Alima said in an interview on August 18: “The Jundong Economic Zone you mentioned is one of the things we have been paying attention to. We are seeing a number of companies set up in this area. They are burning coal to produce green energy products. I don’t have any data on how many companies are located here. However, our report on solar panels detailed the situation in the Jundong Special Economic Zone and highlighted some of the companies there. We have a dedicated page to show which companies are using coal to produce green energy.”

However, Beijing’s “Noor” newspaper (Guangming Ribao) reported in June this year that in recent years, more than 1,200 coal-fired power plants and factories have been located in the East Junggar (Jundong) Economic Technology Development Zone, which is the size of Kuwait. 300 gigawatts of electricity are produced per day in the coal-fired power plants in this place, and it is sent to mainland China through a 3,200-kilometer long high-voltage power line.

Nirola Ulima of Sheffield Hallam University’s Helena Kennedy Center says the Chinese government is driving climate change by lowering electricity prices to attract more Chinese companies to the Uyghur region, leading to more coal consumption. Nirola Alima said: “As far as we know, coal reserves in the Uyghur region account for 40 percent of China’s coal reserves. It has cheap coal, cheap electricity, and it also has forced labor. Coal burning in this region is not just a climate problem… there is no doubt that burning coal is damaging to the climate. This is not good for the Uyghur region, not good for China and not good for the world.”

However, according to Professor Stanley Tupps, the extreme warming of the Uyghur climate will lead to the rapid melting of the ice layers in the Tiryan mountains, which will cause water problems in Urumqi, Shihanze and other places.

“It’s all about our lives,” says Stanley Tupps. Burning more coal warms the air and accelerates climate change. As climate change accelerates, the melting of these ice sheets will accelerate. Water from rivers and canals evaporates more and more, and there is not enough water for farms. If you grow cotton, tomatoes, especially cotton, require a lot of water. So that’s a problem. If you plant it, it requires a lot of water. In particular, if one of the most important ice sheets in the Titian Mountains begins to melt, it will cause water shortages in Urumqi, Shihanze and other places. The situation in the south may not be greatly affected at the moment because there is water in places such as Kara Kurum and Kunjirap. But over time, these places also have problems. So, for now, Urumqi and its surrounding areas are the most directly affected. Because many industries and population are located in this place. “Kashgar has a large population, but there is little industry.”

On the one hand, the Chinese government promised the international community to control climate change, and on the other hand, it allocated a lot of capital and built many coal-fired power plants in Uyghur. After 2010, the project called “Transferring the West’s Forest to the East” became one of the country’s most important strategic projects. Nirola Alima, a researcher at the Helena Kennedy Center at the University of Sheffield, said China’s actions in the Uyghur region show it is not sincere about controlling climate change.

“Their words are not consistent with their actions,” said Nirola Alima. On the one hand, they criticize global climate change when it is useful, and on the other hand, they continue to burn coal in the Uyghur region. This is absolutely unacceptable. This is why we say that the Chinese government actually has no intention of stopping global climate change. “They are using climate change, climate crisis, and global warming as excuses in their negotiations with Western countries.”

He said that although the West believes that China will play an important role in stopping climate change, it will not happen. Because the Uyghurs are using more and more coal in China.

According to Chinese media reports, the Chinese government has laid a new railway between Urumqi and East Junggar, or Jundong Economic and Technological Development Zone, in the past year. The 257-kilometer railway has recently opened and started transporting coal. The news reports that the world’s largest coal mine will double its pipeline transportation capacity.

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