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1.2 Million killed so far by air pollution in China this year
No matter what happens in the global push for clean air this year, China will continue on its quest to build 500 coal-fired plants designed to create electricity. The vast majority of these plants are going to be built without modern “scrubbers” to clean out the toxic ash and other major pollutants that can be removed by reactive metals. So let’s get down to the truth about the China’s release of its greenhouse gas emissions for this year. The US Chamber of Congress quotes the New York Times this year is saying that China has been burning seventeen percent more coal this year, all total, than they disclosed earlier this year according to recently released data. To put that in a global perspective that’s more pollutants, in just the seventeen percent increase that we just found out about alone, than all the carbon dioxide output of the largest industrial country in the EU, Germany. And just to bring that into a larger context, China also intends to add another one thousand smaller coal-fired plants which it has on the drawing boards for preconstruction review in 2016. Very few of them plan to use Platinum or Palladium for scrubbing.
What all of this means to the world is that China's coal burning capacity alone accounts for twenty percent of the entire world's CO2 emissions and this number could jump to thirty percent next year. Couple this with India’s demand for cheap electrical power driven by burning coal to create some 500,000 megawatts of coming electrical demand, and we have a recipe for a global disaster. Lisa Friedman in Scientific American states quite simply that “China has been on a coal binge for the past 15 years” and is in the process of on-boarding 16 giant coal-powered plants very shortly. For us to get a better handle on the magnitude of this pending disaster, in World War II the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined killed an estimated 220,000 people. If China stays at this pace of polluting the planet, they will kill this amount of people every month.
As a member of the mining, refining and bullion recycling industry for many years, I have seen the changes in the production in our industry to Green Gold, making sure no forced labor is used in the production of gold ore, or the careful recycling of reagents used to reduce silver to prevent the damage it could pose to the earth. The catalyst usage that I watch is most often a mix of precious metals. Platinum is the most active catalyst and is widely used, but is not suitable for all applications and there are many types of scrubbers but as a metals dealer I usually watch this type of pollution control device as it uses metals I deal with on a daily basis. All of this pollution control seems rather futile as I look upon the enormity of this destruction. The bodies are being stacked up, one on top of another just to save a few pennies as the very few once again make fortunes from the masses. Will the “Government of the People” decide to use pollution scrubbers to reduce the pollution or will the carnage persist. And yes, the bigger question that must be answered; can the world survive the Chinese onslaught?
As I look at the new changes in the Chinese policy on “public birthing” I have come to the realization of a stunning truth. The Government will now allow the people to have female children as well as additional males to repopulate the working stock for those that will be killed off by the current pollution levels which WHO, World Health Organization, places at 50 times above the “Extremely Hazardous Levels”. The truly larger problem will be the falling birth rates due directly to the mercury levels not just in the air but finally building up in the blood streams of the working population. This will lower the birth rate and drop productivity and it tells me that the Green Initiative put forward by the Chinese Government is dead.
So while you’re slapping that Free Willy sticker on your car bumper, lift your head up for a moment and look to the labels on the products you own. If it’s made in China, the earth and its’ magnificent oceans are paying a terrible cost.
Pete Thomas is a senior vice president at the Zaner Precious Metal Division. As a licensed floor broker he was a filling broker in the silver pit back in the days when silver ran to $55 an ounce. He currently manages a global cash desk which handles Refiners, Recyclers, Mining Operations and Coin & Bullion companies. He is constantly in demand for his insightful opinions drawn from his 35 years of metals trade to such news companies and magazines publishers as EconoTimes, Bloomberg News, The Guardian, Hard Assets, Kitco and Futures magazine.