What Did the Accident Reveals?
Recently the tragic news of collapse of cooling tower work platform killing 72 workers in Jiangxi province caused the usual flurry of blame casting and scapegoating. It was revealed that wooden supports were prematurely dismantled, that cement curing was slow down by cold weather, that it happened during a shift change so it might be overloaded, that fast forced schedule while ignoring safety concerns and adequacy of management control were all mentioned. So is the need for market return and profits. President Xi and Premier Li both issued instructions on necessity for a transparent investigation. Yet for a non technical observer like me, the biggest elephant in the room is not mentioned.
As someone concerned about climate warming I do read about the CO2 emission on coal fired power plant in China. I understand that’s one of the zombie industries in China with large overcapacity, with utilization rate close to 50%, that a lot of the coal fired power plants are losing money. While central government issue orders to slow or stop more constructions and local governments disregarded such orders and kept constructions going. I wonder if there is such a dead line for further coal fired power plant from center and locals instead accelerate the construction trying to beat the deadline? That’s the one question I wish the central government to resolve rather than pro forma firing of bottom managements.