Latest posts by James M. Taylor (see all)
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If global warming were truly a crisis, China would be the earth’s bad-guy bully. China emits more carbon dioxide than any other nation on earth. Heck, China emits more carbon dioxide than all the nations in the Western Hemisphere combined. China’s emissions have more than tripled since 2000, even while the United States and other nations have cut their own. China by itself caused most of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions this century.
That being the case, it is surprising how often global warming alarmists throw love at China on energy and climate issues, saying we should emulate the Far East superpower:
- Media across the alarmist spectrum are gushing with praise and envy this week in the wake of China announcing it may impose a small tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
- The reliably alarmist Bloomberg media site published an article last month titled, “China, Mexico Leading Fight on Climate Change with New CO2 Laws.” (Mexican emissions, like those of China, have increased this century while U.S. emissions have declined.)
- And during this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama claimed, “As long as countries like China keep going all in on clean energy, so must we.”
So just how is China going “all in” on clean energy?
Global warming alarmists tell us coal is the dirtiest form of electricity production, yet China produces 70 percent of its electricity from coal. By contrast, coal accounts for only 40 percent of U.S. electricity generation.
China produces merely 1 percent of its electricity from non-hydro renewable power, while the United States produces 5 percent of its electricity from non-hydro renewable power.
China uses more coal, uses less renewable power, emits more carbon dioxide, emits more pollutants across the board, and is on a trajectory of tremendously higher future pollution levels. The United States, by contrast, uses less coal, uses more renewable power, emits less carbon dioxide, emits fewer pollutants across the board, and is continually reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide and pollutants.
As the Bloomberg article notes, China has central planning programs on the books allegedly addressing climate change. And now China is pledging to enact a modest carbon tax (which may or may not actually be enforced, even if it is enacted.) Nevertheless, Chinese emissions continue to dramatically rise, while U.S. emissions continue to decline.
Global warming alarmists and environmental activists constantly praise China and hold the nation up as an example for the United States to follow. Yet the two nations are on distinctly different trajectories regarding carbon dioxide emissions and environmental quality. Given the choice between a policy of more taxes and more government programs that do nothing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and a policy of fewer taxes and fewer government programs that nevertheless result in declining carbon dioxide emissions, I will take the latter. It is surprising (then again, maybe not) that so many self-professed global warming advocates prefer the former.
When it comes to choosing between a carbon tax and fewer carbon dioxide emissions, alarmists show their true colors by turning up their noses at real-world carbon dioxide reductions and instead pushing wholeheartedly for ineffective central planning and carbon taxes.
“Forget the carbon, we demand the tax!”
[First published at Forbes.]