It’s not easy for India to curb its coal ‘addiction’ like the UN wants it to

It’s not easy for India to curb its coal ‘addiction’ like the UN wants it to


  • UN Chief Antonio Guterres said that Asian countries need to cut down on their ‘addiction’ to coal in order to address climate change.
  • As India’s demand for energy is increasing, so is its consumption of coal.
  • The use of renewable energy is growing but not nearly fast enough to power demand.

Climate change is for real now as skies clog and coastlines are under threat of getting flooded sooner than expected. According to UN Chief Antonio Guterres, Asia’s ‘addiction’ to coal a key threat that needs to be addressed.

“There is an addiction to coal that we need to overcome because it remains a major threat in relation to climate change,” he said during a press conference ahead of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Saturday.

"We are lagging behind," he added.

In 2018, coal consumption grew by 1.4% worldwide — and that growth was led by India, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. But, India’s share of global consumption is only 13% as compared to China that accounts for nearly half of it.

Renewable energy isn’t growing fast enough

While it’s impossible to tackle climate change reducing cutting down on fossil fuels, especially coal — it’s also true that coal is cheap and developing countries like India need low-cost fuel sources to support their growing energy demand.

Currently, India is the third largest energy consumer in the world. Its population and economic growth is poised to increase the demand for energy.

To meet that increase, India’s already elevated its use of renewables by 25% but it’s far from sufficient. Coal still accounts for more than half of India’s energy requirements, according to the government.

According to BP Energy Outlook 2019, India’s coal consumption is set to double by 2040.

Even if renewable energy grows at an exponential rate — as planned by the Modi government — it will be outpaced by the growing demand for power, which will severely limit how far the power sector can decarbonise.