(CNSNews.com) - In his speech to the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday, President Barack Obama cited one foreign nation—the People’s Republic of China—as a model for creating what he called “green energy jobs.” But the environmentalist group Greenpeace released a report in October 2008 that said China was the world’s “largest producer and consumer of coal,” making coal that nation's largest source of air pollution, and that--in 2005 alone--5,938 people died in China as a result of coal-mining accidents.
“For decades, we’ve talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires,” said Obama in his speech. “Time and again, the path forward has been blocked--not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor. The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America.”
In its October 2008 report, “The True Cost of Coal,” Greenpeace said: “China is the largest producer and consumer of coal. Production last year grew by 8.2 per cent to 2,520 megatons and coal sales grew 7.9 per cent to 2,580 megatons. Coal accounts for 70 per cent of primary energy consumption in China, a proportion 42 per cent higher than the world average.”
According to Greenpeace, the People's Republic's suffers serious air pollution from coal-burning: “Burning coal is the biggest source of air pollution in China,” said the summary of the Greenepeace report. “Coal contributes to 85 per cent of China’s sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, 67 per cent of its nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and 70 per cent of particulate matter (PM). Chronic respiratory diseases, linked to air pollution, have become one of the leading causes of death in China. Without significant action, by 2020, air pollution could cost China US$390 billion per year as a result of disease, illness and premature death.”
Coal mining results in many casualties in China. Reports Greenpeace: “In 2005, there were 3,306 coal mine accidents in China resulting in 5,938 deaths."