A new report commissioned by Greenpeace, the Energy Foundation and the WWF estimates that the environmental and social costs of China’s coal usage hit RMB1.7 trillion last year, or about 7.1% of the country’s GDP. Speaking on the report, Yang Ailun, Greenpeace’s climate and energy campaign manager, urged the government to recognize “the true cost of coal [and] create incentives to develop cleaner, sustainable energy sources.”
Just how bad is China’s coal problem? Over the past few years, coal has been the source of 70% of the country’s energy, 85% of China’s sulphur dioxide emissions, 67% of China’s nitrogen dioxide emissions, 80% of China’s carbon dioxide emissions, and 25% of China’s waste water.
Interestingly enough, all this coal/climate change talk comes out just days after scientists discover that rainfall levels were almost certainly tied to the rise and fall of Chinese dynasties. If they’re right, Hu Jintao and co. better step up their environmental efforts to try and reverse the recent trend of weaker-than-usual summer monsoons.