I recently read about China’s attempt to clean up the air in their big cities by creating synfuels from coal. These fuels are cleaner-burning, which would deal with the particulates, but the process of making them would use more CO2 than just burning the coal. This is not what the climate community meant when we called for China to stop burning coal to save humankind.
Secretary of State John Kerry has applauded the partnership of China and the US to decrease GH gases, now approaching two years old. There is always something hidden in political communications. These synfuel plants are the big one, the scrubbed mastodon in the room which gives the lie to the official line. They have built ten mega-facilities in the countryside, so they are heavily invested in a technology which climate experts say dooms the planet.
Meanwhile, the battle over the Keystone Pipeline continues. When I was released from the federal facility in DC in early September 2011, the ground trembled. It was that unusual east-coast earthquake centered in northern Virginia near a nuclear facility. Once they reopened the subway, deep under the earth, the cellphone lines were jammed; I couldn’t reach my contacts. Shades of an ecological emergency.
The Keystone XL is our version of China’s synfuels. My hero James Hansen named it the tipping point, essentially “game over” if we don’t stop it. But since September 2011 many other pipelines have been built, and Obama has presided over the opening of its southern leg, emphasizing his “all of the above” strategy. All of the above is the response of an emperor presiding over the last global civilization we will ever know, built upon irreplaceable carbon stores. It seems that Keystone XL has become a metaphor for climate warriors. But in fact we are surrounded by Fossil Fool interests, and they continue to have the upper hand. Our lifestyles hand it to them, no matter how many times we protest and commit civil disobedience. So who’s a Fossil Fool?
A couple of years ago, I blogged about the need for one of the leading industrial nations to take leadership in ramping down climate change, saying that China actually had the best shot at displaying this leadership because it was the closest nation to having a Philosopher-King with the power to act, unheeded by the moronic masses and the corporate oligarchy who deftly control both them and our elected leaders, like puppets. I sent it to Hansen, who responded, “You are right. That’s why I have given up on our government and am advising China instead.”
Well, Jim Hansen, it seems neither leader has heeded you, and the oligarchs are in power everywhere. Is there anything you can do, now that the Chinese have massively invested in these plants, which have even more power to doom the climate than the dreaded Tarsands? I pray for you and your mission in Beijing. I pray for us all, as the climate tsunami is right on the verge of breaking.