Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently been awarded the CERAWeek Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award. That means it should be believed that PM Modi must have worked to better green energy and the environment while being the Prime Minister. Anyway, he has been showing his government’s commitment to the environment and climate change from various international forums.
But are there policies that help the environment inside the country? Is there no difference between his words and his actions? This is not very old when there was a lot of controversy on the EIA-2020, and after media discourse, the matter moved the court.
The Government of India itself issued a Climate Assessment Report in June 2020, just 4 months after the nationwide lockdown, which described the current situation as horrifying and issued an advisory for the future. And the irony is, at the same time, the country started adopting coal as a source of energy to bring the country’s collapsing economy back on track.
The government opened coal doors for private players in the meantime. While coal is considered the most responsible for climate change, the report clearly states that the country is already experiencing bad weather conditions. Fossil fuel consumption and coal are considered to be the dirtiest fuel.
Coal emits carbon dioxide at extremely high levels. The greenhouse gas causes global warming by stopping the heat of the atmosphere, which leads us to climate change.
India, one of the major coal-producing countries, is the third-largest carbon-emitting country in the world after China and the U.S. And geographically, India is also located in that part of the earth which is considered to be one of the risky climatic zones. India is constantly facing drought, severe rain and dangerous cyclonic storms. These natural disasters are becoming more and more serious again and again.
The report clearly states that by the end of the century, the country’s average temperature will increase by more than 4 degrees and there is a risk of hot winds increasing by three to four times by the end of the century.
The United Nations is also constantly calling for stopping fossil fuels. Despite this, new coal-based power plants are still being built. Are we ready for a new era of clean, affordable and accessible energy?
In 2019, the Climate Change Conference was called in New York by the UN in which Germany, one of the largest users of coal in the world, agreed to phase it out by 2038. Apart from this, eight other European Union countries have also announced to phase out coal by the end of the year 2030. Chile has also promised to close all its coal power plants by 2040.
At such a time, we are going a step backwards. It is so contradictory that while we talk about being among the top 5 countries in the world in solar energy, and at the same time increasing dependence on coal. The government’s climate report also said that monsoon rains in the country have also decreased by up to 6%. This decline is more in the Gangetic plains and part of the Western Ghats.
Between 1901 and 2018, the average temperature of the country has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius. Hot winds will last twice as long. The incidence of drought and the areas affected by it have also increased. In the last 2 decades, severe cyclonic storm events that have come after the monsoon are repeatedly happening.
While announcing India’s 41 coal mines to the private sector, PM Modi had said that there are huge reserves of coal in 16 districts of the country and an investment of ₹500 billion will be made to develop the infrastructure for exploiting them. He also said that the coal extracted from mining would be converted into gas so that the environment can be conserved.
But the question is, is there any such technology available? If yes, why don’t countries that spend more than us on environmental protection and climate change adopt that technology? Even if his own words are supposed to be true for a moment, then the recently introduced budget unmasks him. He has cut the allocation for the environment by ₹230 crores.