Amid rising concerns about climate crisis, experts believe that the expansion and addition of new coal based power plants in India is negating its climate actions. While India is expanding its renewable energy capacity, it is also expanding its coal power plant fleet.
Nandikesh Shivalingam, director, Centre for Research on Energy and Clean, said it is good to see India moving towards achieving its Paris goals. “However, what is worrying is that the way the government is doubling down on coal power. It is no longer enough to just expand renewable energy and claim it as climate action,” he said. “India’s coal consumption should peak in the next few years and there needs to be a clear phaseout plan for coal power which includes rehabilitation of affected communities and restoration of degraded land”
Ulka Kelkar, Director-Climate Program, WRI India, said achieving 40% of non-fossil fuel installed capacity nine years ahead of the Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) target is an incredible achievement for our country. It is a testament to visionary policies and business dynamism. “Renewable energy that powers green hydrogen will be the key to decarbonizing difficult sectors like industrial processes.”
Shweta Narayan from Advisor Healthy Energy Initiative India said India’s efforts to meet its demand through additional of renewal energy is commendable and should be an inspiration for rest of the world, however, the gains from this effort will become meaningless given the present roadmap of expansion and addition of new coal-based power plants. “The new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is a clarion call for exiting fossil fuels, including coal. India’s leadership in renewable energy (RE) will only shine when it fully moves away from fossil fuels that harm the climate and public health,” she said.
The global temperature, averaged over the next 20 years, is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, according to the latest report by IPCC, a United Nations body. At the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world had agreed to limit the global temperature rise in this century to well below two degress Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.