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Chinese city dims lights amid heatwave power shortages

#Chinese #city #dims #lights #heatwave #power #shortages

A provincial capital in southwest China has dimmed outdoor advertising, subway lights and building signs to conserve energy, official announcements say, as the area grapples with a power crisis sparked by record temperatures.

Mercury has soared to over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in Sichuan province this week, prompting massive demand for air conditioning and drying up of reservoirs in a region that relies on dams for most of its electricity.

Factories, including a joint venture with Japanese auto giant Toyota, in the provincial capital of Chengdu have been forced to shut down work, while millions in another city, Dazhou, have been battling rolling power outages.

“Hot and humid weather has pushed the city’s power supply for manufacturing and daily life to the limit,” the Chengdu municipal government said in a social media statement on Thursday.

Facing a “most severe situation,” the city — home to over 20 million people — ordered landscape lighting and outdoor signage lighting to be turned off in notices issued Tuesday, the statement said.

Building nameplates are also darkened.

And the Chengdu subway said in a video on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform that it would also turn off advertising lights and “tweak” the temperature in stations to save energy.

Photos circulating on Weibo showed dim lights on subway platforms, sidewalks and inside malls while commuters walked in partial darkness.

The scorching heat is also drying up the critical Yangtze River, whose water flow in its main trunk is about 51 percent below the average for the past five years, state media agency China News Service reported Thursday.

Sichuan’s energy problems could also have far-reaching implications for China’s economy as a whole – the province is a major supplier of hydroelectric power, including for eastern industrial power plants such as Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

China is grappling with extreme weather on multiple fronts, with flash flooding killing 17 people in the northwest of the country on Thursday after torrential rain.

Meanwhile, weather authorities in eastern Jiangsu province warned drivers of puncture risks on Friday as the surface temperature of some roads would reach 68 degrees Celsius.

China’s Meteorological Agency earlier said the country was experiencing its longest period of sustained high temperatures since records began in 1961.

Scientists say extreme weather events have become more common around the world due to climate change and urgent global cooperation is needed to slow an impending catastrophe.

The two largest emitters in the world are the United States and China.

But earlier this month, in protest at a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, Beijing announced it was freezing its cooperation with Washington on global warming.

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