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Is China As Suicidal As We Are?

May 28, 2009

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | 28 May 2009

Energy Policy: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi goes to China seeking help in fighting climate change. It’s doubtful the world’s No. 1 polluter will agree to follow us over the economic cliff.

In the summer of 2007, a report by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency announced that China had officially become the world’s biggest polluter after its CO2 emissions rose an astounding 9% the year before. Since then, China has shown no signs of slowing down in its commitment to both economic and energy growth.

Between 1980 and 2006, China increased its carbon emissions by 321%. China is adding 100 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity capacity annually. That’s like adding the entire capacity of the United States every three years. The irony is that this powers Chinese factories that export goods to the energy-starving and economically beleaguered U.S.

This isn’t all China exports. As Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation reports, , sulfur from China alone reaches 10% to 15% of the EPA’s allowable levels in California, Oregon and Washington. Estimates are that a third of California’s air pollution and a fifth of Oregon’s come from China. Sensors in the Sierra Nevada Mountains have identified huge Chinese pollution clouds that traverse the Pacific.

Apparently tired of breathing exported Chinese pollution in her San Francisco district, Speaker Pelosi found herself on Tuesday attending the U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum.

She brought along other members of Congress, including Ed Markey, D-Mass., co-author of an economy-killing cap-and-tax bill that just passed a key House committee.

This is the latest effort trying to persuade the Chinese to adopt the U.S. policy of restricting economic growth by accepting draconian caps on carbon emissions with no scientific evidence that it will measurably affect global temperatures. So far the Chinese aren’t buying it.

As Fareed Zakaria notes in his book “The Post-American World”: “The combined carbon dioxide emissions from the 850 new coal-fired plants that China and India are building between now and 2012 are five times the total savings of the Kyoto accords.”

So why are we sacrificing our economic growth to fight their pollution?

China is exempt from Kyoto as a “developing” nation, which is one of the reasons the U.S. Senate once voted 97-0 not to consider it for ratification. China doesn’t mind seeing the U.S. economy handcuffed as it races to make this century a Chinese century. As it is, our states and taxpayers struggle to clean up imported Chinese pollution.

In fairness, China is pursuing other, cleaner forms of energy. It has 11 nuclear power plants on line. Another 22 are under construction. Fu Manchang, the secretary-general of the Chinese Nuclear Society, says: “We have the ability to raise our nuclear power capacity to at least 60 or 70 gigawatts.”

China’s all-of-the-above energy approach to exploiting all its resources is part of its commitment to both economic and energy growth and stands in stark contrast to our none-of-the-above approach to proven energy sources. We are committed to pricing coal and other fossil fuels out of existence with no feasible substitute.

We are reminded of Vice President Joe Biden’s comment in a rope line during the campaign:

“We’re not supporting ‘clean coal.’ Guess what. China’s building two every week. Two dirty coal plants. And it’s polluting the United States. It’s causing people to die.” He went on to say, “No coal plants in America. Build them, if they’re going to build them, over there. Make them clean.”

They are building them over there and not here. That’s not an energy policy. That’s economic suicide. Clean energy and economic growth are not incompatible.

We should be trying to get China to reduce its pollution. But we should also be expanding our own domestic energy resources, including building at least as many nuclear power plants as China is.

China is unwilling to commit economic suicide. Why are we?

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