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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Heading off a 'Coal War' with China - by Derrick Z. Jackson

In 1972, while toasting Premier Zhou En-Lai during the landmark visit to China, President Nixon asked, ``What legacy shall we leave our children? Are they destined to die for the hatreds which have plagued the old world, or are they destined to live because we had the vision to build a new world?"

Despite a disgraced presidency, Nixon was credited with melting that aspect of the Cold War.

Today, China and the United States have the Coal War. President Bush could salvage a portion of his legacy by ending it.

We are not fighting each other for the resource. Instead, we burn it up in our parallel universes and toast the planet like no one else. The United States currently spews out the most global warming emissions in an endless drive to satisfy the highest level of materialism on earth. Our level of consumption and pollution is so high that Harvard scientist E.O. Wilson calculated it would take four planet Earths for the rest of the world to enjoy our standard of living.

Oblivious to pointy-headed professors, China is on its way to passing us with its unprecedented industrialization in that most populous nation. We can already see what is going to happen if China continues to strive for our standard of living: The pollution from coal burning is reaching mountaintops on the American West Coast.

A New York Times feature this week said that carbon dioxide pollution from Chinese coal burning, currently just over that of the United States, will be double this country's by 2025.

That might make a hike to the top of Mount Rainier quite interesting as it becomes a global ashtray. Then there is the issue of what China has begun to do to its own people's health. As our children face a declining lifespan because of obesity and diabetes, people in coal-burning provinces are already seeing dramatic rises in lung cancer.--------------
READ THE REST HERE...Heading off a 'Coal War' with China

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