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India dismisses coal consumption criticism

11 December 2015

Dismissing criticism of western media over its coal consumption for meeting energy needs, India today said that such reports would not deter it from its stand at the crucial climate change conference in Paris. "Certain criticism without attributing any motive to them, I take it as compliment. It does not deter me from my positions," environment minister Prakash Javadekar said.

His comments came in response to western media's criticism of India's plans for usage of coal to meet its energy needs. India said it was ready to reduce its reliance on coal if the developed nations provided it with finance and technology to switch to clean energy sources.

In its climate action plan, India had announced its ambitious plans to have 40 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. "When we are increasing our renewable by seven fold, definitely our coal consumption comes down. In absolute terms, US and many other countries, are much more than us. "If we are third largest emitter, we might be third in sequence but the smallest. India is burning 1/7th of coal that the first two (emitters) are doing," he said on the first day of ministerial-level talks at the summit.

Meanwhile, India made it clear it was not opposed to the demands of the small island states for a downward revision of the global temperature goal.

In 2009, countries agreed to work towards ensuring global temperatures did not increase beyond 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. However, small island states have been pressing for a downward revision to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The demand could not achieve much traction in the past, however, that changed in Paris. The increased frequency of extreme weather events with just 0.8 degrees Celsius warming had made the 1.5 degrees temperature goal, something worth considering.

India is not opposed to the idea of a new temperature target. "Nobody will oppose the 1.5 degrees target," said Javadekar.

"We want to freeze the temperature rise at the present level. Why they should rise any further? There is no question of opposing the demand for setting the temperature goal at 1.5 degrees," he added.

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