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View Diary: China's changing coal market may undermine economic case for more proposed NW Coal Export Terminals (21 comments)

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  •  Related: taking responsibility for coal exports (8+ / 0-)

    Industry flacks say "If we don't export it, China will burn the same amount of coal anyway."  False on any number of levels, as I describe in the May issue of Whatcom Watch:

    Climate Change and Coal Export: Taking Responsibility

    Let’s suppose for a moment that the pro-terminal approach is true — that there is no way to stop further massive increases in Chinese coal consumption, that the coal will come from somewhere, no matter what. By the way — China already has plenty of coal, from domestic sources and current imports, for consumption at their current rate. Therefore, coal from GPT would be only a marginal supply intended to support China’s expanded coal burning capacity.

    This scenario contains a baked-in assumption that there will be no systematic change in the way that the world approaches greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and the environment generally.

    Let’s be clear on the outcome: it’s very, very bad. For China, for us, and for the world. It is a profoundly dismal outlook.

    Preemptively giving in to this worst-case scenario is, by reflection, the worst possible decision we could make as a community and a country. Giving in simply allows others to promote giving in as well, pointing their finger at our actions.

    Promulgating this idea that “there’s nothing you can do” is not limited to the proposed coal port — it’s part of a larger climate misinformation campaign that’s been going on for many years. Previously, climate deniers funded by the fossil fuel industry focused their efforts on spreading doubt about the reality of climate change. That’s been shredded by recent events such as super-storm Sandy, so the fallback position is to say that nothing can be done.

    The only real hope for salvaging our climate is to make decisions that, in every case, reflect and create the potential for much better outcomes.

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