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Date: 2022-07-03 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00018190

Climate Justice
Coal and India

Julio Friedmann ... a piece about the role of coal in electricity generation in India

Burgess COMMENTARY
I very much liked this article ... it makes a lot of sense. The one issue that I would like to see included is the idea that the climate crisis of today has been caused almost totally by North America and Europe and it is only recently that China and India have come on stage representing an enormous challenge for the future. When it comes to paying for the energy transformation that everyone knows must happen, it seems that as a matter of fairness that payment for this transition should be equitably shared which in my view means that the funding should largely come from those that have got us to this position already rather than those that will need electricity in the future. I know this idea is not popular ... but it would be right ... I think ... PeterB #TVM
Peter Burgess
Coal train in India: Pic: Smeet Chowdhury/Flickr Coal train in India: Pic: Smeet Chowdhury/Flickr India, coal, and carbon Published on November 1, 2019 Julio Friedmann Julio Friedmann Senior Research Scholar, and Lead of CaMRI Initiative at Columbia University in the City of New York 12 articles Follow Two fundamental viewpoints frame my thinking as a Carbon Wrangler. The first is arithmetic. As I’ve said before in several blogs (here here and here), the arithmetic of climate change drives an agenda focused on rapid and profound CO2reductions. This arithmetic is unforgiving and reveals important conclusions (i.e., industrial heat is a big deal). The second viewpoint is that people make choices for understandable reasons, even choices against their interests. Progress in clean energy, sustainability and climate requires that people make choices that deliver those outcomes. However, they may very well choose otherwise for reasons they deem valid. Understanding this is essential to the work of climate and energy and requires both generosity and humility. I found myself grappling with these countervailing viewpoints while reading a new piece on coal in India, Land of Contradictions. This excellent deep-dive, written by Akshat Rathi and Kuwar Singh of Quartz, lays out the realities of who, how and why India consumes nearly 1 billion tons of coal each year. Feel free to pause reading this blog and read this journalistic masterpiece - I’ll wait. ----- India is slated to be the world’s most populous nation in 2040. Although the country reports 99.4% electrification, it also reports that ~300 million people lack access to electricity (meaning reliable supply). Roughly 160 million Indians lack access to clean water. These issues are priorities for the Modi government, which has made astonishing progress to date. While serving in the U.S. government, I had the good fortune to meet with high-level Indian officials as part of a US-India project. We met with Minister Goyal, the CEOs of National Thermal Power Company and other state companies, and with heads of Indian universities and National Labs. This was my second foray into India – my first was with an Australian flagship delegation in 2006. Here’s what I learned: · I don’t make policy in India. Neither does anyone else in the US or any other nation. It seems obvious, but it’s striking how many believe we can dictate what other countries do. There’s a word for that: colonialism (something India knows a bit about). · Jobs and energy access matter. Fun facts: the coal sector is the second largest employer in India. The largest is the railways. The railways’ primary revenue comes from moving coal. These jobs are relatively secure, well paid and woven into regional and national politics. With this backdrop, Indian coal can’t be wished away. Coal workers in India. Photo; IE (Financial Express) · It’s not always about cost or price. Government officials and politician never ask “What’s the thermodynamic and economic optimum?” around energy policy. World-wide, they generally support policies they think serve their nation and their constituents (and sometimes, their party). For example, supporting domestic industry can serve to create self-sufficiency, robust supply chains, help disadvantaged communities, preserve public health, or maintain important sectors. While obvious, it means that in some cases inefficient sectors will be propped up even when other approaches are cheaper. · India’s government is India’s government: The world’s largest democracy charts its own path. The wide number of parties, specific aspects of the Constitution, and the nature of the Parliament of India make dealing with complex issues like energy markets and fuels fraught. As complex as politics may be in the UK or US, it’s fair to say one can expect more complexity in India at the National and Provincial level. · Access and alternatives: The defining energy issue in India is energy access, not energy transition. Many Indian’s primary energy comes from “traditional biomass” (aka dung) with enormous costs to health and economy. Many Indian citizens lack access to electricity. Solar can (and does) provide a solution to this challenge. So can large hydro. So can coal. These facts underscore the contradictions in balancing the two viewpoints. Climate arithmetic demands that India cease using coal substantively at once. It’s also pretty clear that won’t happen, because Indians have valid reasons to keep using coal and few alternatives that scale and provide accessibility. I honestly don’t know how to reduce coal emissions in India now or in the future. I do believe carbon wrangling will prove important, especially carbon capture and storage (CCS) on India’s current coal fleet. Leaders in India know CCS is inevitable and will save jobs, create jobs, improve health, add flexibility, and locally spare money. That said, it’s obscene to ask a country like India to deploy CCUS today. The added cost of CCS can’t be justified today in a nation working furiously to provide electricity and clean water to its citizens and which emits 1/6th of the US per capita. So what’s useful now? I’m not sure, but a few ideas suggest themselves: · Prepare: If India knows it will eventually deploy CCS, it can direct its geological survey to assess CO2 storage resources in key regions, identify potential early low-cost projects, and seek global partners in the work. · Innovate: Indian universities stand among the best in the world, with great capabilities in engineering, computing, and sustainability. As part of a clean energy initiative, the Indian Govt. could fund Indian Institute of Technology and other schools to develop indigenous technologies in CO2 capture, conversion and use that suit India’s markets and needs. · Partner: Many nations around the world would welcome the chance to join India to solve vexing climate and energy issues as an equal. In the carbon wrangling arena, Australia, Canada, Norway, the UK, and the US have much to offer if they could be generous and respectful of India’s needs, history, and political exigencies. · Amend its Paris commitments: India could add carbon management demonstrations to its Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Accord, as over 10 nations have already done. This might provide a timeline for action to 2030, teeing up international support and possible financing options and creating incentives for action in country. Ultimately, India will have to chart its own course on these issues. The world is messy, and people have complex, contradictory needs. We should focus on what can be done today and chart a course for what must be done soon. That takes determination, patience, and humility. God give us all those qualities – the work will be with us for a long time. Report this Published by Julio Friedmann Julio Friedmann Senior Research Scholar, and Lead of CaMRI Initiative at Columbia University in the City of New York Published • 3mo 12 articles Follow On a roll! New blog on coal in India & the challenges associated with CO2 emissions reductions. Thanks to Akshat Rathi and Kuwar Singh for their excellent article that got me thinking about this topic. #energypolicy #india #globalenergy #carbonemission #climatepolicy #energytransition #climatechange Like Comment Share 28 5 Comments Reactions Peter BurgessPeter KilbyRafael BrozePaul BaruyaDen RedderJennifer McGuone LantzMelissa C. LottDr. Kasturie Premlall+20 5 CommentsComments on Julio Friedmann’s article Peter Burgess Peter BurgessStatus is online Peter Burgess You Founder/CEO at TrueValueMetrics.org developing True Value Impact Accounting now I very much liked this article ... it makes a lot of sense. The one issue that I would like to see included is the idea that the climate crisis of today has been caused almost totally by North America and Europe and it is only recently that China and India have come on stage representing an enormous challenge for the future. When it comes to paying for the energy transformation that everyone knows must happen, it seems that as a matter of fairness that payment for this transition should be equitably shared which in my view means that the funding should largely come from those that have got us to this position already rather than those that will need electricity in the future. I know this idea is not popular ... but it would be right ... I think ... PeterB #TVM Like Like Peter Burgess’ comment Reply Bill Koppe Bill Koppe 2nd degree connection2nd Coal and Gas Co-development Consultant and UQ Adjunct Associate Professor 2mo Great summary Julio. I was with you when we met senior Indian officials in 2006 and remember the pushback we got to CCS then. I have also been to Indian villages where their main heat source is dung and appreciate the need for the priority the Indian government gives to electricity access. Like Like Bill Koppe’s comment Reply 1 Like 1 Like on Bill Koppe’s comment Adrian Tylim Adrian Tylim 2nd degree connection2nd Business Development | Project Development | Sustainability Management Expert | Renewable Energy Expert 2mo Great article Julio Friedmann true and enlightening in many aspects. Like Like Adrian Tylim’s comment Reply 1 Like 1 Like on Adrian Tylim’s comment Johannes Urpelainen Johannes Urpelainen 2nd degree connection2nd Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor and Director of Energy, Resources and Environment 2mo Lots of good food for thought here. I would, however, note that the energy access frame is increasingly losing relevance in India. Almost everyone now has electricity at home (2018 was a completely different ballgame) and soon the situation will be the same for clean cooking fuels. Given how low electricity demand is among rural households, demand for electricity mostly comes from agriculture, industry, and cities. I see little hope for a rapid coal-to-renewables transition, but it is not because of energy access - it is because of air conditioning, commerce, and so on. For our report on rural electricity demand, see: http://www.smartpowerindia.org/media/1230/report_rural-electrification-in-india_customer-behaviour-and-demand.pdf Like Like Johannes Urpelainen’s comment Reply 2 Likes 2 Likes on Johannes Urpelainen’s comment · 1 Reply 1 Comment on Johannes Urpelainen’s comment Häly Laasme Häly Laasme NorthEast Representative in Board of Directors at National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) 2mo If I may, I would like to add that in my view our society has still enormous amount of work to be done for accomplishing 100% energy access that satisfies all the standards of 100% – availability, sustainability, reliability and affordability. Sometimes we tend to think that being able to provide the supply is the same as being able to satisfy the demand and forget that electrification is not the complete measure for accomplishing 100% energy access. We forget to analyze the energy access from the end user’s point of view. Hence, the question that the society should ask from itself is: “Can we assure that everyone who needs energy is able to afford reliable and sustainable energy?” The reason being that even if you have the infrastructure for providing energy services, you should not be considered a country with 100% of energy access if everybody who needs access to the service is not able to utilize that service when they need it. And even though I am not well informed about the energy issues in India, I am assuming that the answer to that question would be No because currently even developed world cannot assure 100% energy access.…see more Like Like Häly Laasme’s comment Reply

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