Even as pressures for nations to move to cleaner types of fuel mount at U.N. climate negotiations taking place in Egypt, India’s coal minister indicated on Wednesday that coal will continue to play a significant role in the country until at least 2040.
Pralhad Joshi, the minister in charge of coal, said the fuel was an economical source of electricity and that India’s demand for it had not yet peaked.
Thus, Joshi said, “no shift away from coal is happening in the foreseeable future in India,” adding that it would continue to play a significant role through the year 2040 and beyond.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for immediate action to reduce emissions, including the phase-out of coal by 2040, at the COP27 negotiations taking place till November 18 in Egypt.
India has long resisted giving up coal and manoeuvred with China at the COP26 negotiations, which were held in Britain last year, to prevent firmer promises to doing so.
The biggest power crisis in more than six years occurred in April as a result of months of dwindling fuel supplies at power plants. This crisis disrupted business as usual and prompted India to speed up coal mining.
The government said in a statement that coal accounts for more than 51% of India’s primary energy requirement and roughly 73% of power generation, while heatwaves increase the use of air cooling and raise electricity demand.
The wealthy world is under pressure to assist the developing world in financing the switch to cleaner fuel.
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry on Wednesday announced plans for companies to buy carbon credits to support countries switching out of coal power.