Even I was surprised by the growth in China's coal consumption in recent years. Bloomberg provided the numbers in China Beats U.S. With Power From Coal Processing.
Hooked on Coal
China passed the U.S. as the top carbon polluter in 2007; it now emits more than the U.S. and India combined, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Yet with 1.3 billion people, power-hungry industries and scant oil or natural gas, it has no immediate alternatives to coal for fueling its economy. China gets 70 percent of its energy from coal, three times the U.S. figure. It even converts coal into diesel fuel and ammonia that’s used for making fertilizer.
After consuming as much coal as did the rest of the planet combined in 2010, China still can’t muster enough electricity to avoid blackouts or accelerate the rise of its western provinces out of poverty, says Zhao Gang, director of a research institute at Beijing’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
By 2025, with 250 million more Chinese projected to be living in cities, China’s share of global carbon pollution will jump to 30.3 percent from 26.8 percent this year, the EIA says.
After the warmest March in the historical record, which goes back to 1895, global warming is on a lot of people's minds. Well, OK, maybe that was an overstatement. Let me rephrase that.
After the warmest March on record, global warming is on a few people's minds.
Uhmm... not quite right yet. Let's try again.
After the warmest March on record, the economy is still the #1 issue on people's minds, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody who gives a damn about global warming.
That China story reminded me of climate crusader "Crazy Bill" McKibben—"Wild Bill" if you prefer. Global warming is the only thing on Bill's mind. It seems to me that a good use of his time would be to fly to Beijing—making sure to burn some fossil fuels on the way—and tell those coal-crazed Chinese to stop burning all those dirty, CO2-emitting hydrocarbons.
He could do that instead of his usual shtick, which is to rap with Stephen Colbert about stopping the unstoppable Keystone XL pipeline (or some version of it). The only problem with this felicitous scenario is that the Chinese, a short time after they stop laughing, would kick Bill out of their country so damn fast it would make his head spin. Just like The Exorcist!
Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
"Wild Bill" is right of course about the fact that we're warming up the planet. The subtler problem is that McKibben is living large in a fantasy which causes him to believe that humankind is going to do something about it, due in no small part to his heroic efforts to save us. Just like Jesus! Savior of the Earth. How's that for a job title? Looks good on the resume!
The March heat wave was what is known as an extreme weather event. Such events are more likely in a warming world. And in so far as we are indeed heating up the Earth, I thought you might enjoy these pictures of the Arctic sea ice.
The images below show sea ice coverage in 1980 and 2012, as observed by passive microwave sensors on NASA’s Nimbus-7 satellite and by the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). Multi-year ice is shown in bright white, while average sea ice cover is shown in light blue to milky white. The data shows the ice cover for the period of November 1 through January 31 in their respective years.
Regular folks do not care about what happens in the Arctic. They don't live in the Arctic. They just stick their heads out the door, and if the weather is seasonable, as it is now in April in Pittsburgh, they dress appropriately and worry about our dead-in-the-water economy.
And that's all that's really going on today. That's all that was going on yesterday, that's all that will go on tomorrow, and for all the rest of the tomorrows right up until that happy day some decades from now when the Earth will be uninhabitable due to multiple human causes, not just climate.
But not to worry, that day will come long after those alive today are dead.
Because it's all for the children. Didn't you know that?
Sorry about that. Apparently I woke up on the sarcastic side of the bed. Have a nice weekend.
Bonus Video — Doug Stanhope