Climate change and India’s energy choices

Barack Obama’s advice to the climate activists at Glasgow Conference to “stay angry” caught the mood of the young around the world. The issue draws a different response from the governments. They are agreed on the need for action to address the situation earlier described as a doomsday scenario by British PM Boris Johnson. However, they weigh it against the need for energy security for their countries.

The Biden administration has issued calls to OPEC to step up oil production. Germany’s Angela Merkel decided to go ahead with the decision to import more gas from Russia through Nordstrom 2 despite the reservations of the US and protests by Ukraine. COP 26 is taking place against the background of twin crises that have affected electricity generation in Europe and Asia.

Slowing down of wind speeds in the North Sea coupled with an upward trend in gas prices resulted in a sharp increase in electricity prices in Europe. In Asia, the increase in coal prices has impacted power generation first in China, and then in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will attain the Net Zero Emission target by 2070. This has brought the Indian position in alignment with the international mainstream, including that of a large number of developing countries. India has opted for a longer transition period. This is justified because we are at a low point in our development trajectory.

India’s power consumption is 1/3rd of the world average. India will increase the non-fossil fuel capacity for electricity generation to 500 GW by 2030. India, China, US and Australia have refrained from joining the pledge to phase out coal.

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