Cutting carbon emissions

Coal fired power plants are the biggest source of manmade CO2 emissions. This makes coal energy the single greatest threat our climate faces. In India up to 40 percent of our current CO2 emissions comes from coal fired power stations.

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including widespread drought, flooding and massive population displacement caused by rising sea levels, we need to keep global temperature rise below 2ºC (compared to pre-industrial levels). To do this, global greenhouse gases emission must peak by 2015 and go down to zero from there.

India is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide after China and the US. Its emissions are expected to have significant growth over the next 20 years or so. Our emissions come from various activities but the largest share is from the electricity sector because of the way we produce most of our electricity today.

Coal based power plants produce 70 percent of our electricity needs and 40 percent of our total carbon dioxide emissions. If we want to play a significant, responsible role in tackling climate change, we must lead the way by reducing our dependence on coal and finding newer, cleaner ways to produce electricity.

Campaign story:

Our coal campaign highlights the impacts of coal in our energy mix, on the people and environment. We have an opportunity to build the energy infrastructure of the future and must seize it.

There is a huge surge in coal mining and the number of coal fired power plants in the guise of meeting electricity demands and development for the country. However coal cannot deliver India’s growth and development aspirations beyond a few years. It is neither a secure nor a sustainable energy option.

In fact it is a risky investment for the industries and the government. The campaign will demonstrate that supply of coal is severely limited by social and economical factors, making it a dead investment in the medium and long term. The campaign will also make the case that going down the coal route will be costly for India’s global image and long term development interests.

Limited coal:

A lot of our coal is found under the few remaining heavily forested areas of our country or where there are a large number of people living. To get to the coal we must either cut down the forests and/or displace large numbers of people from these regions. When people are displaced, they need to be rehabilitated to similar places where they can rebuild their lives. Given that land is not easy to come by we will not be able to provide people replacements for what they are expected to lose.

So while we theoretically have a lot of coal, there are unacceptable things that may be done to actually be able to use it. Therefore, we must stop looking at coal as an option and start by reducing our dependence on it beginning right now.

We will investigate and publicise the true cost of coal and urge people and policy makers to make the right choices.

The latest updates

 

One positive step from the World Bank, many to follow

Blog entry by Paul Horsman and Shiwang Singh | July 3, 2013

Rampaging floods in Uttarakhand,India, Mindanao, along Europe's famed Danube, in large tracts of Canada, and in America's Midwest. Toxic smog in Singapore, Malaysia, and China's industrial heartland. Melting glaciers in the Alps,...

Floods in Uttarakhand: people and ecology suffer

Blog entry by Shashwat Raj and Paul Horseman | June 24, 2013

Today in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, we are witnessing one of the worst man-made calamities in recent times. A disastrous cycle of events has led to floods that have already killed many people and displaced many more from their...

Fifteen superpowers of the Sun

Blog entry by Rajesh K | June 20, 2013

1. The SUN has been glowing for 4.5 billion years & will continue to glow for another 4.5 billion years. There is no question of solar energy getting exhausted in the near future! 2. Energy equivalent to 1.37 KW of electricity...

Failed corps and parched lands are the remnants of Maharasthra's drought

Blog entry by Neelima Vallangi | June 14, 2013

In Maharashtra, fields have dried up, so have the rivers and lakes, leaving people with temporary solutions to what could potentially turn into a permanent problem if not handled properly. Where is the greenery? Women in Sholapur...

Surviving the drought with stale rotis

Blog entry by Neelima Vallangi | June 9, 2013

Pointing at an overhead storage tank, the villagers told me the tank was constructed 10 years ago, yet has been empty till date and never supplied a drop of water to the people. We were in Talwade village in Yeola tehsil, Nasik...

In Maharashtra, drought is causing migration to cities in large scale

Blog entry by Neelima Vallangi | June 7, 2013

A child plays in front of a locked house whose residents have migrated. An old man was sitting on his front porch in the afternoon. The fields were barren and empty and so was the village. We were in a small village of Chandrod...

Bike-a-thon for renewable energy

Image gallery | June 6, 2013

You made the Bike-a-thon in Delhi a roaring success

Blog entry by Akshey Kalra | June 6, 2013

Hundred people on 25 stationary bicycles pedalled hard in the Delhi heat to 'Switch-on the Sun'. It was World Environment Day and a first of its kind bike-a-thon to show that the people of Delhi want renewable energy to power their...

In the worst-hit district, death is the only fate for animals?

Blog entry by Neelima Vallangi | June 5, 2013

When I first reached Nasik, even during the hot summer, I could feel the pleasant morning breeze. Nasik, I am told has a nicer weather. Temperatures weren't as harsh as the other places I had visited during my time in the drought-hit...

Cattle camps: the last resort

Blog entry by Neelima Vallangi | June 3, 2013

Cattle are the last means to earn a living for the drought-affected farmers of Maharashtra. Due to failed crops, there isn't much fodder left for the animals. Even though people own acres of fertile land, it is as good as barren land...

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