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Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:05 PM

The Scariest Environmental Fact in the World

The Scariest Environmental Fact in the World
See this sobering graph from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA):

As the data shows, 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 it poses to health and the environment, neither China nor many other rapidly growing developing nations are likely to turn away from coal. (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 coal than 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.


All emphasis mine.

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Reply The Scariest Environmental Fact in the World (Original post)
joshcryer Jan 2013 OP
Nederland Jan 2013 #1
wtmusic Jan 2013 #2
dimbear Jan 2013 #3
joshcryer Jan 2013 #4
Kablooie Jan 2013 #5

Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:11 PM

1. For once, you and I agree (nt)

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Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:34 PM

2. The "air" in Beijing may help get the point across. nt

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Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:21 AM

3. Coal is the main source of environmental mercury as well. Nasty stuff.

Natural gas is bad enough, but not nearly as bad as coal.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:32 AM

4. It also spews more radiation into the air than nuclear.

Operating normally anyhow.

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Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:53 AM

5. Actually China may not be as big a problem as the US.

It's worse now but if the Chinese government decides to do something about it, and it sounds like they might, they simply make a decree and its done. Things move quickly there if the government wants it.

With our slow, cumbersome, encumbered system of government it's nearly impossible to make substantial changes and completely impossible to make them quickly.

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