China is burning almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined
Time Magazine published a sobering article recently that provides some idea of the daunting challenge facing activists around the world who are trying to build a movement to confront the worsening problem of climate change. As the chart from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (above) indicates, coal consumption in China is now almost equivalent to the amount of coal in the rest of the world. Why? Because coal in China is so darn cheap and there is just so much of it. Remember that coal is a much dirtier form of energy and emits more heat trapping carbon dioxide when burned than does oil. Add to this the fact that in the coming years, India is poised to match China’s coal consumption and we’ve got ourselves a big problem, despite President Obama’s recent remarks about the urgency of addressing the climate crisis. What can he really do in the face of this cold, hard reality?
Here’s an excerpt:
“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.
“The EIA’s chart also shows how limited President Obama’s ability to deal with climate change really is. The reality is that the vast majority of the carbon emissions to come will be emitted by developing nations like China — and much of that will be due to coal. As we’ve reported, the U.S. has reduced coal use and cut carbon emissions in recent years, even in the absence of comprehensive climate legislation, thanks to tougher air-pollution regulations and cheap natural gas from fracking. Yet even as coal has waned in the U.S., it’s still being burned by the gigaton in other countries. We won’t beat climate change until we’ve beaten coal, but I’m not sure there’s much the U.S. can do to persuade China or India to quit cheap energy — no matter the cost.”
Read more: http://science.time.com/2013/01/29/the-scariest-environmental-fact-in-the-world/#ixzz2JUZ5n4tv