Will China show us up on climate solutions?
While Republican lawmakers in our country continue to deny the proven science of climate change, China is waging an all-out war on coal in that nation.
According to a recent article over at the Think Progress Blog, China cut coal usage by three percent in 2014, five percent in 2015, and they're projecting another three percent decline in 2016. That may not sound like a lot, but China's across-the-board cuts are far stronger than the disjointed, and often disputed climate action plans we see here in the US.
At the rate they are going, and the rate that Republicans in the States are blocking meaningful climate action, pretty soon the climate deniers here won't be able to use China's pollution as an excuse not to clean up our own.
In addition to cleaning up their coal usage, that nation has announced the beginning of their cap-and-trade system, and their electric grid “Green Dispatch” system, which will require low and zero-carbon sources to be utilized before using dirty energy like coal.
That policy has helped slash their coal use, and will continue to cut carbon emissions. As Joe Romm explained over at Think Progress, “China is using the equivalent of only half its coal plants.” And, he added, “the utilization rate will continue to drop as China enacts the policies President Xi Jinping announced in the United States last September.”
While that's great news for our planet, it should be embarrassing for our country. Our legislators love to talk about how we should be leading the world with American Exceptionalism, but we're really only exceptional when it comes to denying the basic science that pretty much every other nation in the world already accepts.
We need big ideas and big policy changes, and all of that starts by voting in lawmakers who will accept the science and fight for big solutions to our climate crisis.