One statistic is often thrown out in discussions about global warming and the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

China is opening one coal-fired power plant a week. Some critics of measures like California’s recent emissions-reduction bill question whether reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States will be effective, given China’s growing economy and growing dependence on coal. (Burning coal produces carbon dioxide, the main culprit of warming.)

The New York Times shed some great context on that in a story today. Here’s a look at what they said:

Hunched over his steering wheel, Zhu Dexiu turned the key in the ignition as the engine rumbled awake and his coal truck lurched forward. The journey lasted about 30 feet. Then Mr. Zhu switched off the engine and waited for the next flurry of driving, maybe another 20 minutes off.

It was 2 p.m. His goal was to reach the inspection station here on the eastern border of Shaanxi Province by 10 p.m. All that stood in his way were other battered trucks carrying cinderblock-size chunks of coal destined for China’s east. There were maybe a thousand of them.

The line was five miles long.


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