(NaturalNews) According to BBC science correspondent David Shukman, China will soon overtake the United States as the world's largest producer of greenhouse gasses.
On a recent trip to China, Shukman traveled between Shanghai and Changshu, and reported that the poor air quality -- which was visible in clouds hanging over the city -- caused him to cough, sneeze and feel light-headed.
China's surging population has sparked high demand for energy, and the government has plans to open a new power station every week. With a population of 20 million in Shanghai alone, demand for power is constantly on the rise, and the most readily available source is from coal.
China's coal reserves contain enough of the fuel -- which is the dirtiest-burning of all fossil fuels -- to last 200 years. Though clean energy technology research is under way around the world, no other fuel source is so readily available to China as coal.
Shukman reported that last year alone, China's electricity industry added the same amount of energy-generating capacity as the entire United Kingdom.
Worldwide climate experts are right to be concerned over China's growing greenhouse gas emissions, since its energy wastes could undermine any benefits brought about by the Kyoto Protocol, Shukman said.
Current efforts to reduce the country's emissions, such as high-heat boilers that produce more power and create less greenhouse gas, have been designed by British manufacturers.
However, Shukman predicts that truly clean coal-based energy generation is more than a decade off, and in that time, China will have built many other power stations to offset the benefit.
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