- India consumes the highest coal in the world after China
- UN Chief says, in the war against Climate Change, India must give up coal
- India should focus on renewable power, he adds
If India wants to wain the fight against global Climate Change and lift its citizens out of Poverty then it will have to stop investing in its coal infrastructure and focus its efforts on the renewable power sources says Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of United Nations (UN).
India is the biggest coal consumer in the world after China and should invest in “clean, green transition” as it recovers from the global COVID-19 pandemic says Guterres at an event which was organised by New Delhi-based environment advocacy group TERI.
Guterres also added that India needs to put a stop on the fossil fuel subsidies which are about 7X higher as of those for clean energy.
The group of 20 countries which also includes India must place a price on the carbon emission and commit to no new coal after the year 2020, said Guterres in the event.
He also added that the has concerns after learning that the G-20 nations allocated more resources to fossil fuels than the clean energy sources for an economic recovery and some of the countries were seen “doubling down on domestic coal and opening up coal auctions.”
Later this year, India plans to auction 41 coal mines.
Guterres said, “Investing in fossil fuels means more deaths and illness and rising healthcare costs,” and added, “It is, simply put, a human disaster and bad economics.”
A report shared by a leading news agency in India said, “While India has seen coal as an affordable source of energy to fuel future growth it is also a major contributor to its chronic air pollution and the main driver of global climate change, of which the country has been a major victim.”
The report added, “However, a shift is underway, and Gutteres applauded the fact that renewable investments outpaced those in coal for the first time last year.”
Guterres, in the event said, the Indian government is making pro-renewable policies which are already overpowering on coal power plants. He pointed out that the average utilization of these coal plants was 48% in the first four months of the fiscal year which began in April, as compared to 61.3% a year earlier, figures given by the Central Electricity Authority.
Half of the coal power capacity on India will be uncompetitive in 2022, rising to 85% in 2025, Guterres said.
The UN Chief also pointed out that renewable power creates 3 times more jobs than the traditional fossil fuel plants, and can address country’s top priorities which includes reducing poverty and providing energy to around 64 million (6.4 crore) citizens which still do not have access to it.
He said, “Like all countries, India is at a crossroad,” and added, “Despite the significant challenges the country faces in bringing shared prosperity to its population, it has in many ways embraced clean technology and a sustainable energy future.”