After last winter’s extremely warm weather in Europe it is news that will strike fear into the heart of any winter sports enthusiast. According to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency demand for coal to produce electricity has pushed China into first place for CO2 emissions. In 2006 China produced 6,200m tonnes of CO2 compared with just! 5,800m tonnes for the US.
It is an environmental disaster in the making. It should be remembered that Chinese emissions per head are 2 tonnes compared to 10 for the UK and 20 for the USA. According to BBC’s Newsnight China is now building 2 coal fired power stations per week to satisfy demand for power. The TV programme commented that Western countries have outsourced their manufacturing to China and their carbon footprint. However cheap goods come at the price of poor environmental standards for power stations (not that Appalanchian strip mining is a paragon of virtue).
There is currently one of the worst droughts in living memory in northern China affecting 1.2 million people.