Press release – Chinese activist says it’s too late for U.S. coal, Sept. 11, 2013

September 11, 2013

Categories: Clean Energy, Clean Water, Climate change, Coal, Events, News, Northern Plains Resource Council

By Northern Plains Resource Council

BILLINGS, Mont — China is no longer interested in coal shipped from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, a Chinese activist told an audience of about 80 people Tuesday night at Rocky Mountain College.

“The price of coal in China has plummeted,” said Lifeng Fang, who lives in Beijing and has been working on dire air and water pollution problems in China for the past 10 years. “The market makes it unprofitable for the U.S. to send coal to China. The new Chinese government that just introduced plans to phase out coal step by step and replace it with renewable energy such as solar and wind. Already China is the number one user of renewable energy in the world.”

Lifeng also spoke to classes at Rocky Mountain College. He is speaking in Bozeman tonight and Missoula on Thursday. He will return to Billings for the Wild and Scenic Film Festival Friday night at the Babcock Theater, where one of the short films documents the many groups that have sprung up in China to combat air and water pollution. His visit in the United States is sponsored by Northern Plains Resource Council and the Western Organization of Resource Councils, both of which promote the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy such as energy efficiency, community-scale wind, and rooftop solar.

Lifeng said the expansion of coal-fired power plants in China has slowed and many plans rejected. Also, it is cheaper to develop China’s own reserves or buy it from Indonesia, he said.

Besides air pollution in China, which drifts on trade winds to the U.S. West Coast; Chinese coal burning is also constrained by China’s water shortage; a rising public concern about coal by Chinese citizens; the economic slowdown, which reduces demand for coal-powered electricity, and China’s increased use of renewable, nonpolluting energy.

“In the end, coal is best left in the ground,” Lifeng added.

Lifeng will speak at 7 tonight at the Emerson Cultural Center in Bozeman and at 7 p.m. Thursday at the University Center Theater on the University of Montana campus in Missoula.

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