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  • Cleaner Chinese Coal? Not Really.

    The front page of the New York Times today has an article on China building cleaner coal-fired plants. The title and the article are fairly accurate but any conclusions should be carefully drawn. In particular, China is not taking effective steps to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.

    In raw terms, China does genuinely invest a great deal of money in “green energy.” That’s because, in raw terms, the PRC invests a great deal of money in everything, including industries which heavily pollute.

    The PRC is definitely working to clean up its coal production. In this it has advantages over the US in that Chinese President Hu Jintao hasn’t publicly bashed his country’s coal industry and Chinese environmentalists don’t loudly oppose cleaner coal.

    The PRC’s chief goal is to reduce conventional sulfur pollution from coal — which it has suffered terribly from — not to cut into greenhouse gases. The US addressed the issue of sulfur emissions nearly two decades ago with the creation of the Acid Rain program.

    Despite lavish spending, China has struggled to follow suit. Environmental improvements are often not utilized fully, as with renewable energy projects never connected to the national grid. On coal, while new plants are being built, old, dirtier plants are not being closed. Reliance on coal is increasing: on official statistics, the proportion of energy generated by coal fell for the first twenty years of reform but has risen this decade as economic growth outstrips the country’s ability to use other forms of energy.

    In a battle to meet the main objective of reducing sulfur emissions, carbon emissions are not a priority. The NYT article heralds a drop in the projected annual rate of increase in China’s carbon emissions from 3.2% to 3%. As China’s carbon emissions are now notably larger than America’s, this leaves us needing to cut our emissions close to 4% annually just to offset the PRC’s ostensibly lower rate of climb. A sustained 4% annual cut is far more aggressive than even the costliest proposal in front of the Obama Administration.

    Gross spending numbers should not obscure the bottom line: China remains entirely unwilling to sacrifice its development model for the sake of reducing greenhouse gases.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Cleaner Chinese Coal? Not Really.

    1. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      You wonder why NYT is going out of business. It has no news value. It is a propaganda arm of all anti-American regimes and hence, aligned with the current Administration in Washington.

    2. James, California says:

      Both countries have an abundance of coal and should look into technology like liquifying coal to fuel much of their energy needs. Germany has been using the technology for decades and recent developments are paving the way for much cleaner and less costly ways to use the liquified coal. Simply suggesting this is to "sin" at the alter of those who worship the "Global Warming" gods. For an Administration that publicly proclaims its desire to welcome and entertain all possibilities for clean energy, they seem to be stronger on the "entertainment" and totally resistant to the "Welcome" side of their energy possibilities. Currently, we have the technology that will allow us to drill up to 40 miles into the continental shelf from platforms that are on shore, and we've got more natural gas than we ever dreamed of that is available for conversion and use as liquified natural gas. Even if we chose not to use it exclusively for ourselves, selling it on the international market could make a significant dent in our growing and unsustainable National Debt. Of course these common sense solutions are actively discouraged and fought against by a Government who desires to control everything and has the guts to throw stones at China. We are quickly becoming an international joke, when we should be the international leader on clean energy and innovation.

    3. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Well maybe mr. President Obamalamlamloo should just shut us down completely to make up the difference for China. But wait, we only produce 1/100 of the so-called carbon waste as China. Guess that won't work! Hell, if nobody is going to listen to reason and stop listening to all these false prophets of Doom and Gloom about Green House Efects and Global Warming, et al, then let's just get it on and start Nuking, everyone! At leasat we all can be faily sure of the outcome, and not rely on the Al Gore types. Is that what you want America?

      Hozro

    4. Pingback: Tom Friedman: Eco-Communist Wannabe | Conservative Principles Now

    5. Jay Alt, usa says:

      In the runup to the Olympics, the Chinese closed many power stations near Bejing. Many of those smaller, polluting units were not reopened. They are becoming more selective in approving projects, rejecting those deemed too dirty -
      http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601130&a

      Some of their top environmental officials are former environmental activisits. Their main problem is a lack of ability to regulate destructive behavior at the local level. But that is changing.

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