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Coal consumption: China rivals the world

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As the data show, China is now burning almost as much coal as the rest of the world — combined. And despite impressive support from Beijing for renewable energy and a dawning understanding about the dangers of air pollution, coal use in China is poised to continue rising, if slower than it has in recent years. That’s deadly for the Chinese people — see the truly horrific air pollution in Beijing this past month — and it’s dangerous for the rest of the world. Coal already accounts for 20% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, making it one of the biggest causes of man-made climate change. Combine that with the direct damage that air pollution from coal combustion does to human health, and there’s a reason why some have called coal the enemy of the human race.

Of course, there’s a reason why coal is so popular in China and in much of the rest of the world: it’s very, very cheap. And that’s why, despite the danger coal poses to health and the environment, neither China nor many other rapidly growing developing nations are likely to turn away from it. (If you really want to get scared, see this report from the International Energy Agency — hat tip to Ed Crooks of the Financial Times — which notes that by 2017, India could be burning more importing as much coal as China.) That’s likely to remain the case in poor nations until clean energy can compete with coal on price — and that day hasn’t come yet.

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http://science.time.com/2013/01/29/the-scariest-environmental-fact-in-the-world/

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But by all means, let's continue excluding China from all of the enviro rules and regulations because they're a "developing nation" - and they'll just keep laughing all the way to the bank (of China).

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You can't force China to sign a treaty it won't sign, end of story.

I think the government knows it has to do something; their failure on the air pollution front is so patently visible and so universally hated that no amount of press control and propaganda can cover it over.

They are, however, in a bind, because unless they can get off the coal (and the gasoline burning cars and trucks, which are about a third of the problem), it will only continue to get worse and cause more popular discontent. At the same time if they crack down hard and clean up the air the economic growth that at the present time gives them their legitimacy will go down the tube (probably with the rest of the world).

They are stretching for time and technological fixes. The world should give them all the help it can -- we are all more or less in the same environmental and economic fix.

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The world simply shifted its coal footprint to China to solve their own immediate environmental problems. Outsourcing most manufacturing to China was a stupid bit of short term-ism on so many levels - and it didn't solve any of the real environmental pollution issues - it simply hid them in a far off place. Problem is that air pollution is no respecter of borders.

Br Cornelius

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Nature doesn't seem to have planned very well for the coming of humanity. It generously provided us with tons and tons of easily mined coal all over the place, just stuffed with carcinogens and poisons and soot and global warming gases.

It's as though someone thought, "Let's make it really easy for them to destroy themselves and see if they are able to restrain their greed."

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