- The Washington Times - Friday, December 8, 2017

Chinese environmental regulators said this week that northern cities facing a winter freeze and a lack of electricity and natural gas can use coal to keep warm.

The state-controlled Global Times news service reported that the Ministry of Environmental Protection was temporarily easing a ban on the use of coal to power heating facilities, after reports found that a number of cities have fallen behind in building plants run by cleaner alternatives such as natural gas.

The China Youth Daily had reported that elementary schoolchildren in some rural area had to bathe in the sun because of the lack of indoor heating.

Cities in China’s industrial heartland suffer some of the world’s worst air pollution levels, and the Beijing government has sought to strictly limit or ban the use of coal-fired furnaces. But northern provinces, including Hebei, Shaanxi and Shandong, reportedly were reporting significant shortfalls in natural gas supplies as the cold weather came on.

The ministry notice issued Thursday eased prohibitions on coal for heating for some 28 city governments across northern China, Global Times reported.

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