China: why coal takes more than it gives

Posted by jossc — 23 April 2010 at 10:58am - Comments

China is the king of coal. It is the world's biggest producer and consumer - but this reliance on coal is costing the country dear.

Because coal kills.

From the miners who dig it, to the people who breathe in its fumes, to the skies that swallow immense clouds of carbon dioxide, heating the earth and causing climate change and rising seal levels, coal takes more than it gives.

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China relies on coal for 70% of it's power, but when you add up the effects of air and water pollution, ecosystem degradation, damage to buildings and infrastructure, then factor in the high number of deaths and injuries associated with coal production, the costs are staggering - about 7% of the country's total income every year.

That's why this Earth Day Greenpeace China released this special coal cartoon - to remind everyone that coal is not the answer.

China needs to quit its coal addiction. Greenpeace is strongly urging the government to start making this happen by adjusting its coal pricing system to incorporate these killer costs. Fairer coal pricing will allow the sustainable energy sector to become more competitive, and a move away from coal would help ensure China's energy security and protect the environment.

Here at home the climate movement has successfully seen off, for now at least, the new generation of dirty coal plants that were being proposed beginning with Kingsnorth. Still, without tough new rules for the giant power companies, we don’t yet have a cast-iron guarantee that highly polluting power stations won't get built in the years ahead – and that's why our clean energy campaign continues.

The good news is that a global clean tech race has begun, as this nifty graphic illustrates.

If we get the investment we need in clean energy industries and green jobs, it will help our economy, our energy security and our climate – and it will mean we no longer need to rely on the filthiest fuel known to man - coal.

About Joss

Bass player and backing vox in the four piece beat combo that is the UK Greenpeace Web Experience. In my 6 years here I've worked on almost every campaign and been fascinated by them all to varying degrees. Just now I'm working on Peace and Oceans - which means getting rid of our Trident nuclear weapons system and creating large marine reserves so that marine life can get some protection from overfishing.

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