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China’s pollution is no excuse for inaction

Saying ‘we won’t do anything until China does’ is like saying ’We won’t protect free speech until China does.’ — Senator Barbara Boxer, California.

Source: Albany, "Barbara Boxer sees carbon tax in the mix," by Carolyn Lochhead, January 22, 2013.

Exact Quote: "We cannot say we won't do anything until China does. That would be like saying, 'We won't protect women until China does, or we won't protect free speech until China does." — Senator Barbara Boxer, California.

Notes: China is a mixed bag.  On the one hand, it is the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide.  China is the world's biggest user of coal for energy.  It is now burning almost as much coal as the rest of the world — combined.     

On the other hand, China is taking steps to reduce their rapidly increasing energy use and emissions. In 2012, China announced it will start testing a pilot cap-and-trade program in select major cities in 2013, and plan to make the program national by 2015.  

Tim Yeo, who chairs the United Kingdom Parliament's energy committee, said that if China did impose a national cap and trade system, "It's game over for the rest of the world ... Everyone will have to do it, including the U.S."

According to Forbes Magazine, China now leads the world in renewable energy investment.  Even more, China's goal is to have 20 percent of its total energy demand met from renewable energy by 2020.

Yes, China does burn more coal than the US and the rest of the world combined.  However, it does not make sense for the US to wait on China.  It is now investing more money in renewable energy than the US, and it has a target to get more energy from renewables by 2020.

Waiting on China is like saying, "Yeah, I know smoking is bad for my health.  However, I will not quit until my neighbor does."

Image Source: BBC News 



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