Looking through this Sunday’s Parade magazine, I read an article titled What’s Really Heating Up the Planet which states that carbon-dioxide released by coal mine fires in China and India could equal the total gasoline carbon-dioxide emissions by American drivers. Why hasn’t this been front-page news on the global warming front?
It is astounding that with all the expensive proposals to combat global warming no one is discussing reducing global carbon emissions by putting out mine fires. Although putting out fires in America would not have a significant effect, putting out fires in China and India would.
So as the former vice president, Al Gore, organizes Live Earth concerts, as Congress ponders raising fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, and as Michigan’s John Dingell, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, proposes America’s first carbon tax, uncontrolled Chinese coal mine fires are sending millions of tons of carbon into the air.
China loses between 100 and 200 million tons of coal a year — a significant fraction of its production of 2.26 billion tons — to mine fires, according to Holland’s International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation. This results in carbon dioxide emissions in a range of between 560 and 1,120 million metric tons, equaling 50% to 100% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline.
It may well be less costly for us to put out the Chinese mine fires than to cut emissions at home.
Second to China is India, where mine fires burn between 3 and 10 million tons of coal annually, with emissions of 15 to 51 million metric tons. Emissions will only grow in the future as China and India expand production of coal to fuel their thriving economies.
Congress wants to impose billions of dollars of costs on consumers and American industries in order to reduce global warming. The energy bill making its way through Congress would substantially raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for cars and trucks, decimating the American automobile industry and increasing the unemployment rate in Michigan.
Another idea is cap-and-trade programs. Under these schemes, the government grants credits to favored industries, which then sell them to those who need to produce emissions. This system requires the correct allocation of credits and level of caps to be successful. In Europe, caps were set so high that emissions were not reduced significantly.
A carbon tax, proposed on July 8 by Mr. Dingell, is a more neutral way to reduce emissions. The tax would encourage Americans to reduce consumption of all fossil fuels — petroleum products, natural gas, coal and shale oil. Yet raising taxes is never popular, and few voters trust politicians to offset carbon taxes with reductions in income taxes.
Further, gases other than carbon contribute to global warming — so why stop at a carbon tax? Congress could copy New Zealand’s new flatulence tax on sheep and cows, designed to reduce emissions of methane, another greenhouse gas. New Zealand’s Treasury will collect $5 million a year.
Carbon offsets, often “feel-good” measures such as planting trees or cleaning the ocean, are an increasingly trendy way of reducing global carbon emissions. Vice President Gore, defending the size of his residence, said that he purchased carbon offsets, and Senator Clinton supports funding for new carbon sequestration technologies.
But the most efficient offset would be extinguishing international mine fires, and neither Mr. Gore nor Mrs. Clinton are proposing research for this.
Looking over the content in this article just reinforces everything that I have thought about our politicians addressing the issue of Global Warming. Rather than addressing the problem, they would much rather subject the people of the United States with onerous taxes and burdens. Meanwhile, while they are gathering power and money at our expense, what little heavy and medium industry we have left will be taxed and legislated out of existence.
What also bugs the hell out of me is that these same countries, China and India, are being given by the UN’s Kyoto Protocol a pass on reducing their carbon emissions. Instead, they are allowed to pollute as much as they want because they have “developing economies.” If the UN was serious about Global Warming, then China and India would be required to base their economies on green technology – that would show the decadent West how it’s really supposed to be done. All this does is just helps to support a contention that the UN is anti-America (or anti-West), and seeks to bring the wealthier nations down to the level of the poorer nations.
I think the last paragraph of the article sums it up nicely:
We don’t yet know definitively, despite much assertion, whether global warming is a man-made phenomenon or simply the product of lengthy climate cycles. But if we’re going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, let’s tackle the biggest culprits first — the mines burning out of control in China and India.
Senators and Representatives of the United States, please put the welfare of your country first, not the rest of the world.