This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by IndiaSpend. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why Greenpeace Is First On The Government’s Chopping Block

More from IndiaSpend

By Sajai Jose:

As Greenpeace India struggles to stay afloat, the real reason why the government wants to shut down the global environmental NGO hasn’t got much attention: Coal, the single biggest source of primary energy in India, is at the heart of the Narendra Modi government’s ambitious plans to ramp up industrial production in the country.

Source: World Resources Institute
Source: World Resources Institute

A total of 1,199 new coal-based thermal power plants with a total installed capacity of more than 1.4 million MW proposed worldwide, the lion’s share -455 plants – are in India, according to data from the World Resources Institute.

India is overwhelmingly dependent on fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas, which meet more than three fourths of the country’s energy needs, despite Modi’s plans to promote alternative energy sources.

Of the fossil fuels, oil and gas account for just about 30% of India’s energy needs; the bulk is imported (80% in the case of crude oil). India has abundant reserves of coal, the fourth-largest in the world.

Coal meets 54.5% of India’s energy needs, and 61.5% of the installed power generation capacity,

Source: PwC
Source: PwC

and plays a key role in industries like steel and cement. India is set to more than double its coal consumption by 2035 and become the world’s largest coal importer by around 2020, according to the International Energy Agency.

The cheapest of fossil fuels, coal, is also the most polluting in terms of carbon emissions. Coal-burning power plants are the single biggest cause of climate change, way ahead of the burning of petroleum in transportation.

Greenpeace has been at the forefront of a global campaign against coal mining and burning, and its Indian wing has mounted several high-visibility campaigns against coal-burning thermal power plants and coal mining in forest areas.

Coal India and Adani in the spotlight

Especially irksome to the government must have been Greenpeace’s targeting of two domestic entities that are also major global players in coal – public sector company Coal India, India’s 5th most valuable company by market capitalisation at $35.9 billion (Rs 2.3 lakh crore) and the Gujarat-based Adani Group, whose promoter Gautam Adani is known to have a close relationship with Modi.

Source: Fossil-Free Indexes
Source: Fossil-Free Indexes

Coal India is number one, and the Adani Group number three on the list of the top 200 coal companies globally ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves, according to Fossil Free Indexes, a stock market index that promotes ethical investing.

Greenpeace has campaigned against both companies, exposing their claims on reserves and financial health, and documenting environmental and other violations. Greenpeace’s Australia chapter has opposed Adani’s plans to develop the world’s largest coal deposit, the Carmichael mine in Queensland, which it acquired for 16.5 billion dollars.

Breakneck industrialisation, Chinese style

Companies like Coal India and Adani are expected to play a vital role in the Modi government’s grand plan for India to take over from China as the new ‘factory of the world’.

With GDP growth dipping to 7% for the first quarter of 2015 (the lowest since 2009), China is clearly slowing down. India seems intent on capitalising on this slowdown and the newfound limits on growth imposed by environmental and health concerns in China. The first signs that the Modi government is pushing for a Chinese-style industrialisation project came when it announced a clutch of mega projects under the Make in India initiative. Work is underway on the most ambitious of these projects, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, across six states, to be built at an estimated cost of $100 billion.

For the government, one of the chief obstacles in this path is land acquisition, which is being tackled through amendments to the existing legislation. The other big hurdle is energy, in which coal will continue to play the biggest part – and this is at the core of its grouse with organisations such as Greenpeace.

Coal and Climate Change–an existential threat

The burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas, in that order – releases massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, and has been proven to be the biggest culprit behind climate change.

With carbon-dioxide levels at record highs, as IndiaSpend reported, only a fraction of the known extractable fossil fuel reserves, least of all, coal, can be burned without endangering the world’s future, the reason why campaigners like Greenpeace are dead set against the fuel.

Source: Nature
Source: Nature

But for the Modi government, and India’s elites and middle classes in general, this would amount to the big prize being snatched away from sniffing distance. That’s why the shots fired against Greenpeace may be only the first in the long and bruising battle ahead.

Featured image credit

newsletter-banner-1

This article was originally published by IndiaSpend.

You must be to comment.
  1. Manas

    This piece, too, needs a comment from me. I will not argue against the statistical data artistically peppered on this article written to defend Greenpeace. I will only say that India is forced to aggressively capitalize on the opportunity presented in the face of China’s slowing economic growth because of the socialist economic policy practiced from 1947 to 1991, and the jump from the primary sector (agriculture) to the tertiary sector (service) skipping the integral secondary sector (manufacturing).

More from IndiaSpend

Similar Posts

By Aaditya Kanchan

By Navya Shorey

By Be a Bridge for Change - BBC

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below