Coal and China – a hazy future

NBC news reports a spike in air pollution readings over 20 times the recommended exposure levels suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Beijing on Thursday, cloaking China’s capitol in a thick, gray haze .  Click here to read the NBC story.

The resultant air warning was just the first of 2014. In January 2013, China suffered through a week of sustained poor air quality that finally forced China’s ruling Communist Party to acknowledge and address serious environmental issues, including the country’s extensive use of coal-fired power plants..

As the United States reduces its use of coal to power electric plants, the coal industry has been looking to increase exports to countries like China and India.  However the environmental and health impacts as well as the economic realities of propping up this industry paint a bleak future for this centuries old fuel source.