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The Elephant in the Room: Lack of Warming and the Eastern Coal Rampage

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Branden Camp

I’ve not seen the mainstream alarmist media in the U.S. questioning the on-going “coal boom” in the Eastern part of the world or defending America’s right to use fossil fuels.

Instead, they’ve embarked on a climate scaremongering spree, gradually persuading the masses to embrace the lawmakers’ proposals for radical green policies that aim to reduce and even ban fossil fuel use.

They justify this based on the supposed dangers of fossil fuels to the environment. And, that is where the whole problem lies. I’d like to address two major “Elephants in the Room” that the alarmists don’t want to talk about.

There are two major elephants in the alarmist room: (1) the failure of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to increase global temperature, and (2) the coal rampage in the East, which is predicted to go on regardless of the climate situation.

No Significant Emission-Driven Warming

The global temperatures in the past two decades failed to respond to increased carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. In other words, the emissions (which are at their historic high currently) did not cause any measurable significant increase in global temperatures. In fact, the warming rate from 1979 through 1999 was nearly twice the rate from 2000 to the present.

If carbon dioxide emissions from our fossil fuels are not causing a corresponding increase in temperature levels, then it is likely that our academicians have mistakenly or intentionally made false assumptions about what drives the global temperature levels.

So, obviously there is no benefit from reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use. To the contrary, there are plenty of benefits from fossil fuels, including rapid economic progress, poverty alleviation, improvement in life expectancy rates, faster growth of food crops, and a robust energy industry that acts as the backbone of all the above.
The major economies of the East—Russia, China, Australia, and India—realize this, and hence, have been going full throttle on fossil fuel use.

Coal Rampage in the East

It is impossible to address the global energy situation and the radical green policies without taking into consideration the two largest and fastest growing economies of the world: India and China.

Together, they constitute around 3 billion of the world’s total population. And those people—many of them much poorer than the developed West—need affordable energy every day. To meet an energy demand of this scale, both the countries depend on abundant fossil fuels, and hence they feature among the top 5 emitters of carbon dioxide.

Despite their dependence on fossil fuels, both India and China became participants of the restrictive Paris agreement, surprising many energy experts. However, their participation in Paris has been nothing more than a political gimmick.

China has been on a secret mission to build more coal plants and increase coal output. More recently, Beijing has used the Belt and Road initiative as a proxy pathway to invest massive capital in coal plant construction in more than two dozen countries. 

And it is not just China and India.

Last week, Australia gave final clearance to the country’s largest coal mining project, and Russia has been investing heavily in coal infrastructure to expedite exports, causing its coal exports to hit a 5-year high in 2018.

But none of this is seen on the left-wing mainstream media outlets of U.S. and Europe. We only hear the unbridled lamentation about the state of our climate and the need to declare climate emergency.

Even worse, they paint the U.S. as a violator of international cooperation on climate change, because of its decision to pull out of the energy-restrictive Paris agreement.

Ironically, it is the Eastern countries that are on a coal rampage. The U.S. has actually reduced emissions. It achieved the highest emission reduction for the year 2017, not by banning fossil fuel, but by using more of it in the form of natural gas.
America’s emission reduction comes at a time when the European powerhouses of Germany and the United Kingdom have missed multiple deadlines to reduce emissions, and more European nations are struggling to find ways to reduce fossil fuel use.
 So before the media and lawmakers accuse the U.S. of being reckless, they should address the biggest contradictions to their claims: the lack of warming and the uncontrolled use of fossil fuels in the East.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Bangalore, India.

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