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

 

At least 12.2 % of India’s reptiles threatened by extinction

Blog entry by Ignatius Thekaekara | February 20, 2013

Stay up-to-date on news related to the environment. In a recent study the Zoological Society of London and the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) species survival commission found that upto 19 % of the world's...

Kerala launches ambitious solar project

Blog entry by Ignatius Thekaekara | February 13, 2013

Stay up-to-date on news related to the environment. Kerala has become the first Indian state to create a very ambitious project to generate over 10 MW of solar power through over 10,000 roof-top solar power systems of one kw each.

PM creates climate change panel

Blog entry by Ignatius Thekaekara | February 5, 2013

Stay up-to-date on news related to the environment. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has established a panel of secretaries from several different ministries along with the cabinet secretary to support the PM’s Council on Climate...

Point of No Return in pictures

Feature story | January 22, 2013 at 18:30

The world is quickly reaching a point of no return for preventing the worst impacts of climate change. Continuing on the current course will make it difficult, if not impossible, to prevent the widespread and catastrophic impacts of climate...

Bharti Airtel makes a move towards sustainability

Feature story | January 18, 2013 at 14:04

Two years ago Greenpeace India and lakhs of mobile phone users like us started asking Bharti Airtel to switch-off diesel. The company has taken the first step by releasing its first-ever sustainability report.

PM calls environmental clearances the new ‘licence-permit-quota raj’

Blog entry by Ignatius Joseph | January 18, 2013

Stay up-to-date on news related to the environment. PM calls environmental clearances the new ‘licence-permit-quota raj’ At the Union Cabinet meeting on January 10 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that environmental...

When humans take over. The story of Uttrakhand

Blog entry by Bipasha Majumder | January 16, 2013

Imagine a place with green rugged hills, deep valleys, sparkling blue rivers, apple and cherry orchards, sleepy little towns and villages and friendly and humble people. Travel further up and let this place open up to the ever...

Governments must confront climate change in 2013

Blog entry by Kumi Naidoo | January 14, 2013

Blog also published on the Guardian's Sustainable Business Blog. I hope I am wrong. But in 2013, we can expect to witness more devastating extreme weather events, fuelled and supercharged by the destructive power of a warming...

Water woes: when every drop counts

Blog entry by Dr Pallavi Singh | January 9, 2013

As a child I once came across this phrase 'Water water everywhere, not a single drop to drink'. Though always amused, my young mind could never quite envisage the gravity of the above lines. Years later, I can perhaps now imagine how...

8 reasons why Shell can't be trusted in the Arctic

Blog entry by franziska_g | January 8, 2013

Shell's most recent 'mishap' a few days ago was not the first setback the oil giant has suffered in its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. In fact, it's the eighth in a growing list of reasons why Shell should not be trusted in the...

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