Question: China relies on coal for most of its commercial energy usage, partly because the country has abundant supplies of this resource. As a result, China’s use of coal is playing a large role in the warming of the global atmosphere. Do you think China is justified in expanding its use of this resource as other countries, including the United States, have done with their coal resources?
Why is China using the dirtiest fossil fuel, coal for most of its commercial energy usage? China is such a misleading country; how can we know if China has abundant supplies of coal? According to Al Jazeera, China is in dire need of more coal, and it’s willing to pay ‘any price’ to secure more of this dirty fossil fuel (Al Jazeera, 2021). As it stands currently, in northeast China, people are buying used clothes to burn to keep warm. The local price of coal is about $266 U.S. dollars a ton, or 26 cents a kilogram. Used clothes are 6 cents a kilogram (YouTube, 2021).
Video Link –
https://youtu.be/bcI1eoVi10wLinks to an external site.
If China’s coal stockpiles are low and in demand with cost at an all-time high will the U.S. risk it’s supplies to bail out China? According to shipbroker Banchero Costa, the U.S. shipped 15.3 metric tons of coal to China in 2021, up nearly five-fold from 3.1 metric tons in 2020. In the 1970s, the United States led the world in developing laws and regulations designed to improve environmental quality. Could this mean that the U.S. are willing to risk their coal resources to assist China? The U.S. environmental community has had to spend most of its time fending off attempts to weaken or repeal the country’s major environmental laws many of which need updating (E Textbook: Living in the environment, 2022, p.646). China does not support the world’s economies and is not justified in developing and utilizing coal as a major resource while we’re paying the price. China’s choice to use fossil fuels for energy has exacted an enormous toll on humanity and the environment from air and water pollution to global warming. That’s beyond all the negative impacts from petroleum-based products such as plastics and chemicals. Mining, drilling, and burning dirty energy are harming the environment and our health (NRDC, 2022). China demands economic power and will play any role possible to obtain it even at the sacrifice of citizens and the planet.
This is a difficult moral and scientific discussion, because China is a communist country that have significantly different value systems and leadership styles. China is not forthcoming with data or information while seeking to portray abundance, wealth, and power when lack, poverty, and simulations of power appear to be China’s reality. If China’s middle class continues to grow, they will consume more resources and obtain the world’s largest per capita footprint.
Three key alternatives –
- Utilize reserves of coal to be burned to produce electricity at a low cost
- Use a carbon tax or a carbon-trading system to reduce CO 2 emissions
- Shift to renewable energy from the sun and wind, via smart electrical grids
- Become environmentally responsible utilize low-carbon businesses
- Depend more on cleaner energy systems
- Stand accountable for China’s severe pollution and grow green energy
I thought it was interesting that some text books states that China has abundant supplies of Coal. In July 2022, China is on track to import 23.14 million tonnes of coal, according to Kpler, with Indonesia slated to be the source of 13.65 million and Russia some 6.7 million (Person, & Russell, C.,2022). According to CNBC, China is facing its worst power crisis in years due to a coal shortage. Bloomberg news reported that Zimbabwe just shipped its first coal to China, exporting 20,000 tons as part of a trial run to a customer in the cement industry. Does China have an unexpected coal shortage due to poor management and the ban that they put on Australia that has been secretly lifted?
Video Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSMB9_lry-cLinks to an external site.
Coal shortage information @ 8:01
APBI-ICMA.org. (n.d.). China needs more coal to avert a power crisis – but it’s not likely to turn to Australia for Supply. APBI. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from http://www.apbi-icma.org/en/news/5835/china-needs-more-coal-to-avert-a-power-crisis-but-its-not-likely-to-turn-to-australia-for-supplyLinks to an external site.
churchillcustoms. (2021, October 28). China’s coal lie – we went to China’s largest coal mine. YouTube. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSMB9_lry-c
Marawanyika, G. (2022, November 2). Africa News: Zimbabwe exports first coal to China for cement industry client. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from
Person, & Russell, C. (2022, July 25). Column: China’s mooted end to Australian coal ban will have zero market impact. Reuters. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/chinas-mooted-end-australian-coal-ban-will-have-zero-market-impact-2022-07-25/
Al Jazeera. (2021, September 28). China’s coal shortage could leave other countries in the dust. Fossil Fuels News | Al Jazeera. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/9/28/chinas-coal-shortage-could-leave-other-countries-in-the-dustLinks to an external site.
June 01, 2022 M. D. (2022, June 1). Fossil fuels: The dirty facts. NRDC. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/fossil-fuels-dirty-facts
Living in the environment: Miller, G. Tyler, Spoolman, scott + free … (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.amazon.com/Living-Environment-G-Tyler-Miller/dp/1337094153
US coal exports to China soared in 2021. US Coal Exports. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://uscoalexports.org/2022/02/24/us-coal-exports-to-china-soared-in-2021/
YouTube. (2021, November 4). Chinese people are in big trouble to keep warm/still suffering from electricity and coal shortage. YouTube. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcI1eoVi10w