February 25, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) It’s rare to get good news regarding pollution and the environment. Most stories are gloom-and-doom, and in most cases, this angle is more than appropriate. Runaway climate change and environmental degradation is, to many, the most profound problem facing the human race, and for the past few decades we’ve utterly failed to meet the challenge.
The projections are grave, with one new study showing that by 2050, five billion people will experience dramatic effects due to climate change. These effects will entail the widespread annihilation of global ecosystems and, incredibly, the extinction of one in ten animals and plants.
However, it’s important to document progress, no matter how rare it is.
This week, China’s National Energy Administration announced the country would be shutting down 1,000 coal mines in 2016, with even more cuts possible. The announcement comes in the wake of a three-year moratorium on new coal mines, an initiative resulting from the country’s over-supply of dirty coal, as well as a surge in low-carbon energy.
In 2015, China’s GDP dropped to its lowest levels in 25 years amid the nation’s move away from manufacturing. A 3.5 percent reduction in coal production coupled with an overall drop in energy production (the first such drop in 50 years) led to a 3 percent reduction in national carbon emissions.
This reduction ran parallel to the greatest boost in renewable energy investment in history, with Chinese investors infusing $110 billion into non-fossil-fuel energy infrastructure.
While coal will remain the primary source of electricity generation in the country for years to come, the moratorium and nation-wide coal mine shutdowns will have significant beneficial effects on China’s notorious air pollution problem.
As Tim Buckley of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis notes:
“This comes at the same time that the US has confirmed a 10% year-on-year decline in coal consumption in 2015, plus a three-year moratorium of new federal coal mine leases. That the largest economies globally are moving rapidly in concert to exceed the Paris [climate change] agreement sets a very positive scene for 2016.”
The need for action on the part of the world’s industrialized nations couldn’t be more urgent. Hopefully, world leaders and captains of industry will realize the human race is reaching a point of no return and that future generations depend on an international paradigm shift.
This article (World’s Biggest Fossil Fuel Polluter to Close down 1,000 Coal Mines) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Jake Anderson and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Dergenaue. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.