Coal Country

China is a country of coal.

Even though China’s coal usage peaked in 2013 and is now declining, still more than 60% of the country’s total energy consumption comes from coal. Especially in norther China where it gets cold in winter this is a big deal. Coal causes a lot of air pollution.

We directly experienced coal in two cities in the province of Shanxi. In Datong we saw a few gigantic coal mines. Apparently  they have good quality coal there, which is exported all over the world. Funnily enough despite that the air quality there is the best in the region, because the city  banned the use of coal for heating and cooking. While driving we actually saw many solar panels around Datong. In Pingyao we then saw what happens if people use coal to heat their homes… A lot of pollution! Sometimes in winter it gets so bad that the residents do not even leave their houses. However, in the old town of Pingyao the government is now subsidising electric heating. It will be interesting to see if this can reduce the pollution, as it is rather expensive for the residents to switch.

Below you can find a few pictures of everyday coal life in Pingayo:

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