Sunday, October 9, 2016

Open letter: Why India is still building hundreds of coal plants it doesn’t need

Forwarding an open letter to PM shared in an energy related network. Not sure about risks/benefits of naming right now (specially when a lot of violent types are prowling around, who will react to anything and can't really be reasoned with), so anonymizing it. Also, the message is far more important. I hope someone makes an online petition of this soon.

The Honourable Prime Minister
Govt. of India, New Delhi

Dear Sir,

Many sections of our society are happy to know that India has officially ratified the Paris agreement on Climate Change. Our congratulations to the entire Cabinet of ministers under your leadership.

It is even more heartening to know from UN's climate body that Paris climate deal will enter into force in the next30 days, after being ratified by 72 countries accounting for more than 56 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. While this is a great step in the right direction, the global scientific community has been insisting that a lot more and much more urgent actions are required by the global community to arrest the running away impacts of Climate Change.
May I request your attention to one negative aspect of India's developmental paradigm?  The power sector seems to be undertaking more of negative actions as compared to positive actions w.r.t Climate Change mitigation. As the news report below indicates the continued efforts to build coal power plants in the country cannot be in the interest of the communities.  At a time when very many commissioned coal power plants are idling (and associated with huge losses to our economy), it cannot be considered as prudent from any perspective to build so many more of them, as the report has highlighted, endangering our flora, fauna, and the general environment.

Climate Change: Why India is still building hundreds of coal plants it doesn't need
While our authorities may have a disagreement with some of the statistics/information provided in the above report, there is no denying the fact that our electricity generation planning and the associated activities need to be vastly more rational, keeping the environmental and social issues at our focus.

Instead of investing so much of our meager resources into building so many coal power plants, most of which are likely to become stranded assets or poor performing assets, it would be necessary to invest such resources in improving the overall efficiency of the power sector, containing the energy demand, conserving our natural resources, and
n the
widespread usage of appropriate renewable energy resources.

Many reports in this regard have been in the public domain for many years by now, but the concerned authorities seem to continue to ignore them.

May I also request that instructions be issued to the concerned ministers and officials to consider a paradigm shift in the way we view the demand/supply of energy/electricity through a holistic view of the overall welfare of our communities, and make use of the vast benefits of effective public consultation in formulating a people friendly and environmentally sustainable energy policy for the nation?


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