Obama asks China, India to stop using coal

President Obama recently asked developing countries to forgo the use of coal when building their economies and concentrate on developing "renewable" energy sources. While not naming names. the president's message was clearly aimed at China and India - two nations who have rapidly increased their coal consumption as their economies have taken off.

To say that the president is delusional is an understatement.

Washington Times:

Coal may have played an integral role in turning the U.S. into the world’s top economic superpower, but President Obama is actively pushing China, India and other emerging economies to ignore the fuel that powered the Industrial Revolution and instead embrace renewable sources favored by those on the political left.

As part of his passionate push on climate change, the president recently implored developing countries to “leapfrog” old energy sources, which are the primary drivers of carbon emissions.So far, however, there’s little evidence those countries intend to listen to Mr. Obama, with China’s coal consumption, for example, skyrocketing and projected to keep growing for the foreseeable future. The country now accounts for nearly 50 percent of all global coal consumption, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Some energy analysts say that expecting the president’s sermon — in which he urges nations to now do as we say, not as we did for more than a century — to dramatically alter the worldwide energy landscape is a glaring example of the “dream world” that Mr. Obama and his backers in the environmental movement call home.

“The left used to look at telling the rest of the world what to do as something to be frowned upon when the U.S. was doing it. Now they seem to practice it with a lot of gusto,” said Dan Kish, senior vice president of policy at the Institute for Energy Research. “The idea that they’re going to forgo the Industrial Revolution, which really was an energy revolution, and go to forms of energy that [Mr. Obama] finds really cool is a dream world.”

China's coal consumption dwarfs that of the US and Europe combined. Fully 87% of its energy consumption comes via fossile fuels. And while China's investment in renewables exceeds the US investment, it's use of coal in power generation will continue to grow for the foreseeable future:

Coal, the most carbon-intensive of the fossil fuels, accounts for 70 percent of energy used in China today and is responsible for about three quarters of electricity generation. 

  • In just 5 years, from 2005 through 2009, China added the equivalent of the entire U.S. fleet of coal-fired power plants, or 510 new 600-megawatt coal plants.
  • From 2010 through 2013, it added half the coal generation of the entire U.S. again.
  • At the peak, from 2005 through 2011, China added roughly two 600-megawatt coal plants a week, for 7 straight years.  
  • And according to U.S. government projections, China will add yet another U.S. worth of coal plants over the next 10 years, or the equivalent of a new 600-megawatt plant every 10 days for 10 years.

In essence, Obama is asking China, India, and other developing countries to skip the industrial revolution and remain mired in poverty and ignorance. Cheap, abundant energy is what drives growth in emerging economies and you wonder what planet Mr. Obama came from if he actually believes those nations will heed his supercilious suggestion.

Yes, China is paying a price in air quality for burning so much coal. But that has more to do with centralized choices made by a Communist bureaucracy than any concern about air pollution.

With 700 million people still living in the countryside, China's development of renewables will take a back seat to bringing their people  into the 21st century.

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