There is a growing crescendo of support in the United States for dramatic action to curb greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the real challenge lies elsewhere. According to a recent report issued by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels declined 1.3 percent in 2006 while our economy was growing 3.3 percent. Energy use per unit of GDP fell 4.2 percent last year and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP fell 4.5 percent. We are already doing more than our part.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, China has become the world’s number one polluter. China relies on coal for 75 percent of its energy and industrial energy needs. China already has 16 of world’s 20 most polluted cities. A third of California’s air pollution and a fifth of Oregon’s comes from China, and the Chinese are planning to build 2,200 more coal-fired energy plants by 2020. (More from the National Center for Policy Analysis here.)
And of course the Chinese would like nothing better than for Congress to impose more environmental restrictions on U.S. industry, transferring even more U.S. jobs to their country.
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