Wednesday, October 29, 2008

China's dependence on coal causing not only environmental damage

China's recent economic boom is mostly based on coal as its primary fuel but such huge economy growth has too many negative impacts, and not only from environmental point of view. Latest report by Greenpeace China, WWF, and the Energy Foundation shows that coal is mostly responsible for air pollution, water shortages, polluted soil, ecosystem degradation, widespread human illness, and injuries or deaths related to mining accidents.

We already knew that air pollution is taking heavy toll in China, but latest report is showing even worse data as
air pollution from coal has become so bad in China that chronic respiratory disease has become a leading cause of death. Water shortages have become regular in many China's regions since for every ton of coal produced two-and-a-half tons of water become polluted. Acid rain as a result of excessive coal production is almost constant in one third of China's territory.

And there is of course the biggest problem of them all, namely the climate change. many scientists believe that China recently overtook US as the world's leading CO2 emitter, where coal burning holds dominant place with about 80 % of total China's CO2 emissions. Chinese government did some moves that should increase total percentage of renewables in China's energy sector but this is still negligible because use of coal hasn't yet showed signs of slowing down.

For instance in 2007 China consumed
massive 1311 million tons of coal so you could imagine the impact this has on climate change. However though China leads the way in coal consumption, some other states, most notably US should raise some questions about their energy policy, because US consumed 574 million tons of coal in 2007. Big coal users like China, US, Australia are nations mostly responsible for global warming, but still these countries haven't done nothing significant that would change their energy policies in order to significantly decrease dependence on coal. Despite huge environmental, social, and economic losses caused by coal.

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