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


Are We Ready to Sustain the Right Choice?

Blog entry by Sunil Dahiya | September 7, 2016

India is standing at very interesting juncture today. From here onwards, there are two paths that can pave the way forward. The first one is to continue with the age old conventional dirty energy sources such as coal, while ignoring...

Switch On The Sun- Greenpeace India Applauds Delhi Government Adoption Of Solar...

Feature story | June 7, 2016 at 17:03

New Delhi | 7th June 2016| Delhi got its much awaited solar policy on Monday. The Delhi government unveiled and approved the solar policy in the cabinet meeting.

How India’s Coal Power Expansion Triggered An Air Pollution Crisis

Blog entry by Lauri Myllyvirta | May 25, 2016

In New Delhi, where drivers routinely turn on their emergency indicators to be seen in the winter smog, the air pollution debate has largely focused on two sources of air pollution: cars inside the city and agricultural waste-burning...

No Trees, No Future, Save KBR

Blog entry by Ali Abbas | May 16, 2016

Amid the record high temperature that Hyderabad is facing this summer, news broke out that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation ( GHMC)  is planning to chop down 3100 trees across city to widen the roads and lay the flyovers. We...

National Clean Air Action Plan Is The Need Of The Hour: Greenpeace India

Feature story | May 16, 2016 at 14:13

New Delhi| May 12, 2016| The most recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), released today, has re-emphasised the immediate need to address the air pollution menace in several Indian cities such as, Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna and...

Greenpeace Welcomes Phasing Out Of Aging Coal Power Plants

Feature story | May 11, 2016 at 17:10

New Delhi 9th May 2016| Greenpeace India welcomed the Central Electricity Commission Chairman’s statement that indicated phasing out aging coal-fired power plants and called it a ‘step in the right direction’.

Why Fossil Fuels Are A Gamble We Can No Longer Afford

Blog entry by Ravi Chellam | April 25, 2016

As nations gather to sign the Paris Agreement, does India have the will and conviction to achieve the shift to renewable energy? Global warming is not hysteria – it is for real. Fortunately, we did not really need actor Leonardo...

Statement From Greenpeace India On The Signing Of The Paris Agreement At The UN

Feature story | April 23, 2016 at 12:13

New York/ New Delhi |April 22 2016|Even as Officials from over 120 countries, including India, gather to sign the Paris Agreement today at New York, latest scientific data reinforces the urgency for action. The first three months of 2016 were the...

Kolkata getting down to the basics of 'Do'!

Blog entry by Grace Saji | April 5, 2016

It’s not all that very often that one hears of an environment program (as opposed to a cultural program) being conducted in Kolkata, so my eyes (literally) popped out when I got the invite: “You’re going to be invited as a delegate at...

Nothing momentous in the Modi-Obama statement on climate change

Feature story | January 25, 2015 at 19:13

Greenpeace India expressed disappointment at the joint announcement by Prime Minister Modi and President Obama as it didn’t go beyond rhetoric and the usual platitudes.

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