Greenpeace demands action to combat climate change at the 6th Coaltrans India Conference.

Press release - March 12, 2007
On the inaugural day of the 6th Coaltrans India conference in Mumbai, Greenpeace India protested against the continued large scale usage of coal, despite its extremely destructive impact on the climate. Greenpeace activists sent a strong signal to key participants like National Thermal Power Corporation, the Indian Ministry of Coal, Power Finance Corporation and Coal India Limited asking them to stop killing the climate and demanded that the Indian government implement a rigorous framework for clean energy usage in order to sustain India’s development.

Delegates at the 6th Coaltrans India conference look on as a masked Greenpeace activist demonstrates against the coal industry's contribution to climate change. Out of all the fossil fuels, coal emits the highest amount of CO2.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy, Greenpeace Campaigner said "This would be possible only if we reduce our excessive reliance on coal. The companies promoting coal should have realized by now that coal is not the only source of electricity; energy efficiency and renewable energy sources can generate the required amount of electricity while not increasing CO2 emissions and contributing to global warming. They should also realize that they are endangering the future of millions of Indians, especially the poor, our coastal cities and the economy as a whole by their irresponsible act of promoting coal while climate friendly options exist".

The latest Report of latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report concluded in February this year that continuing business-as-usual practices is likely to increase global average temperatures between 1.1°C and 6.4° C above 1980-1999 levels by 2095. The Stern report on the "Economics of Climate Change" published last year estimated the GDP loss to India from climate change to be as high as 9-13 percent by 2100 compared to what could have been achieved in a world without climate change. In addition to this loss in GDP, huge sums of money are spent on natural calamity relief in India, a bulk of which is now being attributed to climate change.

The impacts of global warming in the form of severe droughts, floods and heatwaves, unusual rainfall patterns, sea level rise and increase in vector borne diseases have already been witnessed in India. In July 2005, the strongest ever rainfall recorded in India shut down the financial hub of Mumbai. While Barmer in Rajasthan experienced floods, the northeast region of the country experienced a mere 20-30 per cent of rainfall. In the Sunderbans, two islands have already disappeared and others are vulnerable; wildlife experts say rising sea levels and coastal erosion caused by global warming are steadily shrinking the mangroves in the region. Dengue fever surfaced in New Delhi in March this year, well before the onset of Monsoon.

Reacting to the new industry buzz word "clean coal", Srinivas said "there is no such thing as clean coal. It is only a public relations concept developed by the industry to justify itself in a world threatened by catastrophic impacts of climate change; even the most efficient coal-fired power station emits more CO2 than those using other fuels. If only the coal companies and the government acted responsibly, we could mitigate such colossal losses".

For further information, contact

K Srinivas – Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India
Ruchira Talukdar – Greenpeace India Communications

Notes to Editor

Greenpeace’s political demands:

• A time bound target for energy efficiency measures and increasing renewable energy targets in the country’s energy mix.
• A declaration that India will undertake voluntary emission reductions and that the government will make public its implementation plans.