COLUMN-Climate deal may be terminal for coal, but death will be lingering – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – December 14, 2015)

Dec 14 It’s tempting to take the champagne-fuelled view that the historic global climate agreement reached in Paris signals the death of coal, but even if the dirty fuel is terminal, it will be a long, lingering demise before the final hacking cough.

This is simply because coal is, and will remain for decades, the main fuel in the world’s top and third-biggest emitters, China and India.

While China has changed direction on coal fairly dramatically in the past two years, its pledge at the climate summit that ended last weekend in the French capital is only that its emissions will peak by 2030.

That means the Chinese are allowing themselves 14 more years of increasing emissions, despite their commitment to lower the share of coal in their energy mix to below 60 percent.

India didn’t commit to any absolute cuts in carbon emissions, instead promising to shave a third off the rate at which it emits greenhouse gases over the next 15 years.

What this means is India aims to cut carbon intensity, or the amount of carbon per rupee of economic output, by between 33 and 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

But given that India is also planning on rapid economic growth in order to lift hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty, this means that pollution will rise in absolute terms, even if the South Asian nation does manage to use energy more efficiently in economic terms.

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