Tim Maughan, writer for BBC: You may not have heard of Baotou, but the mines and factories here help to keep our modern lives ticking. It is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of “rare earth” minerals. These elements can be found in everything from magnets in wind turbines and electric car motors, to the electronic guts of smartphones and flatscreen TVs. In 2009 China produced 95% of the world's supply of these elements, and it's estimated that the Bayan Obo mines just north of Baotou contain 70% of the world's reserves. Mining produces a lot of hazardous waste. The United States has chosen to shut down many of its mines and let the rest of the world do the dirty work so we can have all our modern technology including wind turbines and solar panels.
Institute for Energy Research: Coal-fired electricity generation is far cleaner today than ever before. The popular misconception that our air quality is getting worse is wrong, as shown by EPA’s air quality data. Modern coal plants, and those retrofitted with modern technologies to reduce pollution, are a success story and are currently providing 30 percent of our electricity.
Investor's Business Daily: It has become an article of faith in the U.S. that recycling is a good thing. But evidence is piling up that recycling is a waste of time and money, and a bit of a fraud. The New York Times recently reported that, unknown to most families who spend hours separating garbage into little recycling bins, much of the stuff ends up in a landfill anyway. One big reason: China has essentially shut the door to U.S. recyclables.
Alan Taylor, writer for The Atlantic: June 5, 2018 is marked by the United Nations as World Environment Day, a day set aside since 1974 to promote “worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.” This year’s theme is “beat plastic pollution.” Some advocates for nuclear power claim that nuclear energy can be implemented worldwide in a few decades. They also claim that the world is being destroyed by carbon dioxide from use of fossil fuels. Will people who are struggling to get through life in very polluted environments take good care of nuclear power plants through their full life cycle? These people need fossil fuels to improve their lives and economies. Canada, France, South Korea and Switzerland are examples of countries who are using nuclear power exceptionally well.