Coal at any cost to help the poor of Africa and elsewhere has become the cudgel of climate change denial. Led by Bjorn Lomborg the usual suspects, who never otherwise really gave a moments worth of notice for the people of the developing world, have tried it on.
Eli, Eli is a museum goer, and has seen the pollution and illness caused by burning coal in the world both in pictures from the 19th century and in person. Eli thinks that the developing world does not have to replicate the mistakes and misery the developed world suffered through to get to where it is, which is not such a bad place. The developing world does not need telephone poles, they have cell phones and working cell phone systems. The same cannot so clearly be said about their centralized electrical generation and distribution systems. Mini-networks based on solar and wind have many advantages.
So, how bad is it out there in China, whose energy economy is built on coal? Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, prints a letter from a reader about the quality of life there and economic growth
I believe the macro-level statistics and phenomena you discuss are all trailing indicators. I left China with my family almost five years ago as a large number of interrelated quality-of-life issues became increasingly unbearable. Those factors have continued to worsen since then at an accelerating rate, to the point where the economy is now largely driven by people trying to earn or steal enough money to leave.It is this sort of misery that lead to the Chinese pledges on climate action for the upcoming Paris talks.
The once-thriving expat community in Beijing has shriveled to nearly nothing. The cost of living is approaching world-capital (NY, London, Tokyo, etc.) levels for a miserable existance. The local culture has become increasingly desperate and cutthroat. And Beijing is one of the more attractive places in China to live, work, and raise a family.
People, generally, and Chinese especially, will tolerate all sorts of deprivation in service of a better future for their children. And that is largely what has driven the rapid pace of Chinese development since the end of the Cultural Revolution and the beginning of Deng Xiaoping's opening and reform policies. My feeling is that biggest challenge ahead for China is when the population at large concludes that a better future for their children is no longer in the cards.
When it happens, it will happen gradually, then suddenly. And what happens after that, no one can say, but a continuation of the policies driving hyper-accelerated GDP growth over all else probably isn't it.
The Rabett's friends at the Heartland Institute, on the other hand, have again shown their adherence to the hypocrats oath. They too have taken up the Lomborgian call for more coal now, more coal tomorrow, and more coal forever
These policies prolong reliance on open fires fueled by wood and dung. They mean families are denied lights, refrigeration and other benefits of electricity, and millions die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, and other effects of rampant poverty. With hydrocarbons still providing 82% of the world’s energy – and China, India and other rapidly developing countries building numerous coal-fired generating plants – retarding Africa’s development in the name of preventing climate chaos is useless and immoral.But, of course, the US EPA's new regulations for cleaner burning wood stoves, is to the Heartlanders, an abomination
According to University of Houston professor Larry Bell, “80 percent of wood-burning stoves currently used by homeowners [do not meet the new standards.]”Of course, the smoke from burning biofuels for cooking and heating indoors, according to the Heartlanders, does nothing in the US, nothing. Indoor air pollution from burning biofuels only kill Africans and Indians who don't burn Matt "King Coal" Ridley's special blend healing coal.
Close to 2.5 million homes in the United States, 2 percent of all households, use wood as a primary heating source, a figure that has increased 38 percent since 2004. Another 8 percent of households use wood as a secondary heating source.
When EPA proposed the rule in 2014, Stonehill College professor Sean Mulholland submitted comments stating there are “several reasons to be skeptical of the level of benefits claimed from this regulation.” He cited literature questioning the link between particulate matter and mortality, and he criticized EPA for assessing benefits based on national averages rather than accounting for local variability.
Ron Arnold, executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, says the link between particulate matter and health problems is not as clear-cut as the agency claims.The echos of convenient cognitive dissonance fills the sky.
“Does [a wood stove] cause smoke? Yeah, of course it does,” Arnold said. “And has that got particulate matter in it? Of course it does. Is it killing everybody? No, it’s not. Is it making everybody sick? No, it’s not. Do some people get sick? Yeah. Is that what’s causing it? Well, EPA says it is, but we really don’t know. But we’ve got predatory scientists who will say it is.”
Critics point out EPA’s new rules will place an increasing financial burden on poor and rural residents who rely on wood stoves as their primary source of heat.