Coal – China’s Addiction and What we Should do About it

It is now generally acknowledged that coal-fired power plants emits huge amounts of the greenhouse gas CO2 and menace the world climate more than any other sources of energy. As a consequence, developed countries are trying to switch to other more sustainable power sources. Unfortunately the saved coal is still being mined and then shipped to China where it is burnt in mostly very polluting power plants in order to satisfy China’s exploding energy demand. China – once a coal exporter – has become the biggest coal importer. It now consumes about halve of the yearly worldwide coal production of six billion tons. Coals exports of Australia, South Africa, Columbia and Indonesia are booming, the coal price has doubled over the last five years and new mines and port facilities are planed.

On-green-policy! This is definitely not to the liking of climate protection advocates. But hiding behind China’s expanding coal consumption and stalling own efforts to emit less CO2 is surly not desirable for the western countries. It’s the politicians’ job to swiftly work towards a functioning global regime, able to radically reducing greenhouse gases. China and other emerging countries will join sooner than one may think and any way, not doing anything because of today’s laggards is really not an option but a cheap and detrimental excuse. It is well established that acting now has significant economic benefits, triggers substantial job creation, efficiency gains, technological leadership, cheaper energy cost and less energy dependency on unstable and authoritarian regimes. What kinds of politicians deserve you trust and vote? The ones, trying to ignore a global even if undesirable trend and reality by conjuring the past or the ones looking ahead in order to make the most out of it?

Source: New York Times

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