India’s plans to ramp up coal mining “could push the world into irreversible climate change and make India’s cities, already among the world’s most polluted, even more unliveable,” the New York Times reported last week.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal has promised to double domestic coal use from 565 million to more than a billion tons by 2019, making up for years of delays in coal mining licences. “India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate changes many years in the future,” he told a recent conference in New Delhi.
“If India goes deeper and deeper into coal, we’re all doomed,” said climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan, director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “And no place will suffer more than India.”
Harris writes that the country’s coal rush could be the biggest obstacle to a global climate agreement in Paris late next year.