Zürcher Nachrichten - India under fresh scrutiny as UN panel calls for shunning coal

EUR -
AED 4.014904
AFN 77.350587
ALL 100.298926
AMD 424.109588
ANG 1.970361
AOA 958.097609
ARS 1008.878981
AUD 1.623764
AWG 1.970301
AZN 1.857371
BAM 1.955761
BBD 2.207517
BDT 128.460974
BGN 1.954194
BHD 0.412016
BIF 3148.137475
BMD 1.093093
BND 1.465671
BOB 7.555126
BRL 5.999334
BSD 1.093308
BTN 91.439757
BWP 14.793842
BYN 3.577829
BYR 21424.628485
BZD 2.203837
CAD 1.495199
CDF 3093.453671
CHF 0.966426
CLF 0.036754
CLP 1014.150456
CNY 7.933456
CNH 7.943184
COP 4371.55334
CRC 571.804337
CUC 1.093093
CUP 28.966972
CVE 110.26281
CZK 25.263614
DJF 194.652573
DKK 7.46046
DOP 64.67049
DZD 146.699673
EGP 52.740616
ERN 16.396399
ETB 63.180757
FJD 2.436175
FKP 0.842294
GBP 0.841737
GEL 2.967767
GGP 0.842294
GHS 16.870128
GIP 0.842294
GMD 74.112535
GNF 9418.071427
GTQ 8.483832
GYD 228.721273
HKD 8.535801
HNL 27.079958
HRK 7.551034
HTG 144.321095
HUF 389.738589
IDR 17673.186968
ILS 3.973197
IMP 0.842294
INR 91.420312
IQD 1432.210862
IRR 46005.5697
ISK 149.513415
JEP 0.842294
JMD 171.256599
JOD 0.774566
JPY 171.040137
KES 142.642018
KGS 92.697045
KHR 4489.992976
KMF 492.493893
KPW 983.784344
KRW 1511.442043
KWD 0.333994
KYD 0.91109
KZT 521.979183
LAK 24205.405014
LBP 97906.638211
LKR 332.363399
LRD 213.361618
LSL 19.934751
LTL 3.227621
LVL 0.661201
LYD 5.280895
MAD 10.711387
MDL 19.334793
MGA 4930.082492
MKD 61.540104
MMK 3550.324367
MNT 3771.172229
MOP 8.792867
MRU 43.238141
MUR 50.831092
MVR 16.735615
MWK 1895.779691
MXN 19.362505
MYR 5.102014
MZN 69.848651
NAD 19.934569
NGN 1778.834339
NIO 40.240305
NOK 11.74632
NPR 146.303771
NZD 1.800915
OMR 0.420797
PAB 1.093318
PEN 4.072931
PGK 4.281915
PHP 63.73991
PKR 304.150059
PLN 4.292145
PYG 8250.987093
QAR 3.987821
RON 4.96997
RSD 117.038619
RUB 96.356161
RWF 1432.084659
SAR 4.100025
SBD 9.244951
SCR 14.868329
SDG 647.111341
SEK 11.53161
SGD 1.465614
SHP 0.842294
SLE 24.974233
SLL 22921.623751
SOS 624.793307
SRD 32.396005
STD 22624.824157
SVC 9.566073
SYP 2746.430088
SZL 19.934604
THB 39.304352
TJS 11.632416
TMT 3.836757
TND 3.380733
TOP 2.57888
TRY 36.171881
TTD 7.401124
TWD 35.682388
TZS 2900.940567
UAH 45.345399
UGX 4034.030594
USD 1.093093
UYU 43.899128
UZS 13761.726678
VEF 3959787.868232
VES 39.899998
VND 27674.389371
VUV 129.774263
WST 3.064606
XAF 655.955974
XAG 0.03591
XAU 0.000443
XCD 2.954139
XDR 0.824684
XOF 655.943972
XPF 119.331742
YER 273.628591
ZAR 19.888341
ZMK 9839.137862
ZMW 28.890483
ZWL 351.975593
  • RBGPF

    0.0000

    56.9

    0%

  • SCS

    0.0200

    13.94

    +0.14%

  • CMSC

    -0.1400

    24.21

    -0.58%

  • NGG

    -0.3350

    61.445

    -0.55%

  • CMSD

    -0.0650

    24.48

    -0.27%

  • RIO

    -0.5000

    65.27

    -0.77%

  • RYCEF

    -0.1700

    5.77

    -2.95%

  • BCC

    2.9250

    136.645

    +2.14%

  • BCE

    0.1950

    33.565

    +0.58%

  • RELX

    -0.0500

    45.35

    -0.11%

  • JRI

    -0.0700

    12.56

    -0.56%

  • VOD

    0.0250

    9.195

    +0.27%

  • BTI

    0.5150

    33.215

    +1.55%

  • GSK

    -0.1450

    39.695

    -0.37%

  • AZN

    -0.7300

    79.03

    -0.92%

  • BP

    0.2400

    35.66

    +0.67%

India under fresh scrutiny as UN panel calls for shunning coal
India under fresh scrutiny as UN panel calls for shunning coal

India under fresh scrutiny as UN panel calls for shunning coal

The mounds of jet-black coal shimmering under the afternoon sun at the Dadri power plant are a raw illustration of India's coal dependence -- a habit that despite increasing pressure, the country is finding hard to kick.

Text size:

Coal is vital for providing electricity to India's 1.4 billion citizens, making up 70 percent of the country's energy needs.

That reliance is in the spotlight after a warning by UN experts this week that to ensure a "liveable future", countries must move to greener energy sources much faster to reduce emissions.

Coal-based plants like the sprawling Dadri facility are attempting to make themselves cleaner, but their efforts are mostly in their infancy, and pale in comparison to their overall emission rate.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set ambitious goals for renewable energy development, aiming to increase non-fossil energy capacity to over double the current coal capacity by 2030.

But Harjeet Singh of the Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty Initiative said that while the cost of renewable energy has come down by up to 90 percent in the last decade, India still requires hundreds of billions of dollars upfront to make the transition.

"That kind of international support in terms of investments or concessional loans or grants is not coming through," he said.

Experts say coal will remain the dominant fuel in India for a long time to come, with its energy needs over the next 20 years set to rise faster than any other country in the world.

- Crossroads -

The UN report, released Monday, said current policies are leading the planet towards catastrophic temperature rises and that the world was at a "crossroads".

If the world's current oil, gas and coal infrastructure operate for their designed lifetime -- without technology to capture and store carbon -- capping global warming at the target of 1.5 degrees Celsius will be impossible, it said.

India, which with China reportedly led opposition to a commitment to "phase out" coal at the COP26 summit last year, currently has about 211 gigawatts of operational coal capacity, according to the Central Electricity Authority, with another 55GW under various phases of construction.

None of India's power stations yet has the technology the UN report mentions as a mitigation option.

"Carbon-trapping technology is being used on an experimental basis at one of our plants," said B. Srinivasa Rao, chief general manager of the Dadri plant. "If it is successful it will be done at all the plants."

With six coal-fired units supplying megacity Delhi and elsewhere, the plant -- run by India's biggest power producer, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) -- is spread across some 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares) in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

It has taken some steps to reduce emissions, including burning pellets made from agricultural waste along with coal.

Like several other NTPC units, it has installed a solar thermal power plant with and output of 5 megawatts -- though the plant as a whole generates 2500 MW.

Rao said the plant has also achieved 100 percent recycling of fly ash, a main byproduct of burning coal, and implemented a zero liquid discharge system.

But locals living in the vicinity complained about coal dust spilling from trucks and affecting their health.

"It burns our eyes and hurts our lungs," said Rinku Rana, who runs a confectionery shop close by.

"But if the plant closes down we will be robbed of our livelihoods. So in a way it's a necessary evil that we have to live with," 29-year-old Rana said, wiping off a thick layer of ash-grey dust that had settled on biscuit and sweet packets at his shop.

- Climate equity -

Singh, the environmental campaigner, said India cannot continue to rely on fossil fuels, especially in view of severe air pollution.

At the same time, it needs cheap fuel to power its economy and help millions out of poverty.

Levies on coal are an important source of employment and government revenue, especially for states like Jharkhand and Odisha, among the poorest in the country.

Modi has said India will cut its emissions to net-zero only by 2070 -- missing a key goal of the COP26 summit for countries to commit to doing so by 2050.

The government argues that although the country is the world's third-largest emitter in total, its per capita emissions are far lower than the American average.

Singh said New Delhi was "well within its right" to talk about equity and climate justice.

"The current climate crisis is not because of India's industrialisation. It's because of the Western industrialisation that has happened over the last 150 years," he told AFP.

"Rich countries need to reduce their emissions far more earlier than what they have planned right now... and at the same time provide support to developing countries to move away from fossil fuels."

E.Schneyder--NZN