BURN, BURN: Climate change or not, power-starved India just can’t help burning more coal – by Tapan Sarker (Quartz India – June 15, 2016)


More than a fifth of India’s population lacks access to electricity, posing a major development challenge. India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has promised to bring affordable access to electricity to all of these people by 2019.

While Modi has committed to increasing renewable power generation, India is also increasing coal production. India is the world’s third-largest coal producer and its second-largest coal importer. This is increasing the tension between development and India’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change.

The world economy is changing faster than ever and Asia is at the forefront of its transformation. The growth, led by China over the past decade and more recently by India, shows that Asia has significant progress to make. But there are enormous challenges in realising the dream of the Asian Century.

For instance, in India, 22% of the population is living below the national poverty level. Only 47% of the households have access to a toilet, while 105 million people lack access to clean drinking water and 240 million people don’t have access to electricity.

But there is also bright news for India. The country’s economy is growing quickly and will soon surpass China’s. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its recent interim economic outlook, has predicted that India’s GDP will grow by 7.4% in 2016 and 7.3% in 2017.

In his electoral victory speech, Modi promised a “shining India” of new hopes and aspirations. The reality, however, is far more complex.

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