GLOBE AND MAIL – Time to seize a prosperous future fuelled by natural gas

Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Nov. 02 2014, 4:53 PM EST
Last updated Sunday, Nov. 02 2014, 4:53 PM EST

Which fossil fuel is the largest generator of greenhouse-gas emissions and toxic smog? If you answered coal, you’re right. Coal produces half of all global carbon-dioxide emissions and almost all toxic smog.

China burns almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined. Between 2005 and 2013, new coal-fired power plants in China added one and one half times the entire consumption of the second-place coal consumer, the United States. Economists predict that by 2040, China’s power-generation needs will be 50 per cent larger than today. That would drive energy-related global greenhouse-gas emissions from coal to more than 60 per cent, negating most, if not all, of the reduction efforts of other countries. But there’s a much more urgent problem facing residents of Chinese and other coal-dependent cities across the developing world. Burning coal emits smog-producing nitrogen and sulphur oxides that, together with lung-clogging particulates, are knocking decades off of peoples’ lives.

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