While the United States are wondering what will happen next on climate change mitigation in their country, both India and China have recently unvealed very ambitious targets to fight local air pollution and global climate change.
As Al Gore pointed out on Twitter, both the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China unveiled huge efforts to curb greenhouse gases emissions on the same week, or rather on two consecutive days.
About the US, Climate Progress has this to say : ” On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from America’s existing power plants. “
The Climate Progress article continues, stating that it is ” the most significant step taken by any U.S. president to address climate change. ” No less !
Good news for China and the entire planet : As Reuters reports, ” China will close 1,725 small-scale mines with a total capacity of 117.48 million tonnes in 2014 as part of its programme to phase out low-quality coal production “
This is done to increase the efficiency and the safety of the sector as well as cut the tremendous air pollution in Beijing and many others cities. This is taking place as coal demand is increasing in a much slower way than ten years ago.
To data published by Greenpeace, the Chinese coal consumption has gone from increases of 19.2 and 17.5 percent in 2003 and 2004 to an increase of less than three percent in the previous years.
If you think climate change is a threat only to a distant future, please read on. In California, the situation is critical as to the Weather Channel : ” California’s reservoirs are severely depleted due to the ongoing widespread drought conditions “ ” As of Jan. 21, 2014, 67 percent of California was in extreme drought, … Read more
If you like me you are wondering sometimes what it would cost China to clean its air, here is the answer, and it is quite astounding. To a Chinese official, it would cost a mere 5 trillion yuan, or around $820 billion ( around 600 billion euros).
For the capital city of Beijing alone, it would cost $163 billion as it ” plans to reduce its coal consumption to 10 million tons per year, down from the current 23 million tons “ as Time Magazine reported in a most interesting article.
Additionally, 1,200 polluting plants will be closed. Now the question is : what will happen to them, their production and their workers ? Simply relocating them won’t solve anything…
The People’s Republic of China is in the middle of a very serious situation as it is struggling with horrendous air pollution which in the Northern provinces cut life expectancy by over five years.
To avoid this from worsening even more, the local government has been investing heavily in the past and will invest more in the future in low carbon alternatives : negawatts ( energy efficiency ) and renewables.
Those very same renewables are getting cheaper and cheaper – reaching grid parity – while coal is only getting more and more expensive.
Over the past few days and weeks, so many horrifying news have been making the headlines on China that I thought a recap would be needed. As an introduction you might read my post on the airpocalypse in Beijing.
All the news I will develop today clearly allow us to understand why the country is willing to push forward renewable energies and efficiency so massively. Business as usual is simply killing people and endangering the nation itself.
Unbridled economic growth without any environmental concern or regulation is clearly unsustainable, environmentally, socially and economically.
Last week two events caught my attention in the Asia Pacific region as they show that our climate is warming and our air is deteriorating. Both events look unrelated at first but aren’t as fossil fuels are in both cases the culprit.
The first one was the horrendous fires and temperatures witnessed in Australia. The situation is so bad the local meteorological agency had to add new colors to their charts for temperatures above 50°C (!).
The Australian fires are so large and so numerous that the continent lit up on satellite pictures by night as much as Europe does.
The situation is critical in the People’s Republic of China as everyday it is becoming more and more evident than business-as-usual scenario would doom the country, and the world.
As the air pollution in Beijing is reaching truly horrifing levels the local government has called to ” reduce emissions of “major pollutants” by as much as 10 per cent by 2015 “ according to The Telegraph.
To do so, the country will need no less than ” $536 billion (410 billion euros) of investments for environmental protection in the five years through 2015 “ as Bloomberg reports.