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China and South Africa: Energy shortages causing economic turmoil

Posted Sep 13 2008 11:53pm
Today in the Sac Bee, stories of two developed (or developing) nations facing energy shortages due to weather and economic expansion outstripping energy resources.

China

China facing unprecedented winter snow is seeing power lines and towers downed, halts to it transportation system which has lead to shortages in coal. Coal, one of the dirtiest energy sources and the majority of China's energy, is prompting the centralized Chinese government to issue a decree stating that the transportation system is to be used through March for necessities, such as transporting food and coal, essentially halting coal exports. The initial projections are that the government ban will last through early March.

Question in my mind, Americans via the Wal -Marts of this world rely on "cheap" products from China to help satisfy the desire ( nevermind the social costs of such ventures) of most Americans to get the biggest bang for the buck. What does energy rationing in China mean for retail prices in the U.S? Perhaps buying American or local for that matter will make more sense for the American consumers? A boost to jobs for Americans, a retreat from the wasteful practice of trans-Pacific exports, one can only hope.

South Africa

The land of gold and platinum is facing an energy crisis on unprecedented terms. Facing economic growth that has outstripped its energy resources. South Africa and its energy clients Namibia and Botswana are facing calls to cut energy use by 10 to 15 percent. Even the gold mines, including the world's largest, has been forced to shutdown during the ongoing energy crisis.

There is no better time than now to be thankful for what we have and also respect the resources we have by using them wisely and modestly. The more we begin thinking this way, the better off we will be. The status quo is no longer an option in many respects as evidenced in China and South Africa.

Cheers!

Sean
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