Posts Tagged ‘grist’

Its already getting tough to keep tabs on everything happening in Copenhagen, so for now I’ll just share what I’ve been reading.  Here’s today’s Copen-digest:


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, cleaner cars, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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A new line of intrigue in the Energy Citizen astroturf events: turns out that, on top of being funded by the American Petroleum Institute and stocked with (at the Houston event, exclusively) energy company employees, the majority of them  are also being organized by oil-industry lobbyists.

Kate Sheppard from Grist reports:

Here’s more evidence that the “Energy Citizens” rallies against climate legislation are anything but grassroots uprisings. We already knew that the American Petroleum Institute was behind the whole idea. Now it turns out that even the local organizers of individual rallies are oil-industry lobbyists.

Grist obtained a copy of API’s list of coordinators for the 21 planned rallies, and 15 of them are registered lobbyists, mostly for API or its state-level affiliates.

There have already been three “Energy Citizens” rallies—in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday; in Roswell, N.M., on Thursday; and in Lima, Ohio, on Friday. Others are planned for cities around the U.S. during the rest of the August congressional recess.

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A week and a half ago I sat in on the first Carbon Management Caucus  meeting of the 81st Legislature and listened to a professor from Penn State tell legislators, their staffers, and a few intrepid members of the general public that “we need coal, coal isn’t going anywhere, in China they’re using tons and tons of coal and opening a new plant every week, why should we drop coal if China isn’t, coal coal coal” … you get the picture.  I paraphrase, of course.  But essentially, a new twist on the China cop-out.

Yes, China uses lots of coal.  LOTS.  And China’s strategic decision to go crazy on coal plants has done much for rural electrification and providing electricity to populations that have never had it before.  But China’s commitment to coal is also slowly killing its people, and they’re aware of it.

Reports Grist,

babyEvery 30 seconds a baby is born with physical defects in China, partly due to the country’s deteriorating environment, state media said, citing a senior family planning official.

The figure, reported by the China Daily in its weekend edition, adds up to almost 1.1 million in a year, or about seven percent of all births in the world’s most populous nation.

Let me add emphasis to the fact that this information was coming from China’s state media (let me repeat, China’s STATE MEDIA, as in, the official government-sanctioned voice approved by the ruling commmunist party).  I find this particularly shocking because it is very likely that, from such a highly regulated source, even this jaw-dropping figure is under-reported.

The article continues,

North China’s coal-rich Shanxi province, a major source of toxic emissions from large-scale chemical industries, has recorded the highest rate of birth defects, the China Daily said in its weekend edition.

“The problem of birth defects is related to environmental pollution, especially in eight main coal zones,” said An Huanxiao, the director of Shanxi provincial family planning agency, according to the paper.

Pan Jianping, a professor of the Women and Child Health Research Office under Xi’an Jiaotong University, warned that the increasing rate of birth defects among Chinese infants would soon become a social problem.

So there you go.  Let’s quit coal — do it for the babies.

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Throughout the global warming debate, I have often heard an argument I like to call “the China cop-out.”

It goes somewhere along the lines of, “Developing nations like China and India are growing so quickly, adding so many new coal-fired power plants, and emitting so much carbon dioxide that it isn’t worth it for the US to take action on climate change until they are on board as well.”

To which my response has always been, “Since when does America look to China to lead?”leadership

Recent news shows that if America is willing to rise to the challenge of mitigating climate change impacts and become a leader once again, other nations will follow. To prove my point, this just in: Japan jumps on the green stimulus bandwagon.

Just as President Obama has been shepherding the stimulus package, loaded up with green goodies, through the House and Senate, Prime Minister Taro Aso of Japan has announced his intention to draft a “Green New Deal” to counter both climate change and the global economic downturn.

Grist reports that Aso will “order a stimulus package focusing on slashing greenhouse gases at a meeting of his global warming advisory panel Wednesday.” At this meeting his government will also ” present various plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2020.”

If America commits to lead by example, who knows how many other leaders we may be able to influence?

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