Environmentalism in China – Part 2/4

Between 1990 and 2008, according to the United Nations Statistics Division, the US produced 314.6 million metric tons of CO2, while China produced 57.23 million metric tons. One metric ton is 1,000 kg or 2,204.62 pounds, which means one million metric tons weighs one billion kg or more than two billion pounds.

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In addition, in 2008, the  Earth System Science Education Alliance reported, “Black soot is made up of microscopic carbon particles released during the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, coal and the burning of wood)…

“Soot, we now understand, is hazardous to our health and is suspected of contributing to global warming.”

In fact, soot has only recently been identified as a major player in the loss of ice and snow in the Polar Regions.

While the US has reduced CO2 emissions from 19.7 million metric tons in 1997 (the highest point on record) to 17.5 in 2008, China increased CO2 emissions from 2.8 million metric tons to 5.3.

In 2008, the US still produced more than three times the amount of CO2 China produced.

Facts and Details.com says, “The U.S. emits about 21% of the world’s CO2 and 6.1% of the world’s Black Soot.  However, the majority of today’s black carbine emissions are from developing countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

“China and India together account for 25-35% of global black carbon emissions.”

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What isn’t mentioned is that the US population is less than 5% of the global total while China and India together represent 36%.  From these facts, it is clear that the US still pollutes more than its share of black soot and CO2 compared to China and India.

What is China doing to solve the pollution challenge before it equals the more than two hundred years of pollution from the US and Europe?

Continued on October 31, 2011 in Environmentalism in China – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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2 Responses to Environmentalism in China – Part 2/4

  1. Xiaohu Liu says:

    No bones to pick with the post except the use of “Facts and Details” as an source. This is just a website run by an expat English teacher out of Japan. I would not endorse it as a rigorous or non-political source.

    • How about “Science Daily” as a source instead of “Facts and Details.com”?


      Science Daily reports, ” Between 25 and 35 percent of black carbon in the global atmosphere comes from China and India, emitted from the burning of wood and cow dung in household cooking and through the use of coal to heat homes. Countries in Europe and elsewhere that rely heavily on diesel fuel for transportation also contribute large amounts.

      “Per capita emissions of black carbon from the United States and some European countries are still comparable to those from south Asia and East Asia,” Ramanathan said.

      Then the New York Times says, “While carbon dioxide may be the No. 1 contributor to rising global temperatures, scientists say, black carbon has emerged as an important No. 2, with recent studies estimating that it is responsible for 18 percent of the planet’s warming, compared with 40 percent for carbon dioxide… In Asia and Africa, cook stoves produce the bulk of black carbon, although it also emanates from diesel engines and coal plants there. In the United States and Europe, black carbon emissions have already been reduced significantly by filters and scrubbers.”


      I’m still searching for a reliable source on how much actual black soot America and Europe spews into the atmosphere. Although there seems to be easy data on China and India, numbers for America and Europe seem elusive.

      What I want is to find a database that shows what each country produces in comparison with the rest of the world in relation to the population of each country.

      If the burning of wood and cow dung in household cooking and through the use of coal to heat homes is the primary source of black soot in India and China, how can any reasonable individual blame those countries for that air pollution since they are both developing and many of those people would not be able to cook or heat their homes without wood, cow dung or coal. It takes time to build an electric grid and/or an infrastructure that would carry natural gas to homes to use for cooking or heat. It doesn’t happen overnight.

      Imagine the effort and time it would take to put filters on every home and hut in China and India where a third of the world’s population lives. Any criticism of China and India regarding black soot air pollution is ridiculous, ignorant and stupid. If Western critics of China want to clean the air there of black soot, they should donate money and time to see that it happens faster. After trekking around rural China from village to village in an attempt to do that, they would gain a valuable education in reality.

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