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Sunlight over soot

India becomes more active in the fight against global warming

The world’s third-largest carbon emitter is curbing its dependence on coal

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Sense Seeker in reply to guest-ajalease

Links supplied by the fossil fuel industry? Who pays you, "guest-ajalease"?
Anybody who still claims there is no global warming is either a troll or an idiot, or both. All major scientific organizations show that global warming is happening. If you don't believe that, look it up at the websites of NASA, NOAA, CSIRO, Met Office, etc, etc.

Sense Seeker in reply to Houshu

Either way, non-Westerners don't have to do anything to prevent potentially disastrous climate change, in your book? That's not a very constructive attitude to a global problem, IMO.
But climate science aside, one visit to Beijing and a look at the estimates of the number of deaths caused by air pollution in China should suffice to convince Indian decision makers that coal should have no future in India. The price is too high.


India imports their coal. The US already possesses the resource. It is in India's best interests to minimize the import of coal for major economic reasons. Same for China. For the US, like Prime Minister Trudeau in Canada said, it would be foolish to not take advantage of natural resources within it's borders.

Charles Kiddell in reply to jaygem

According to Wikipedia India has "the fifth largest coal reserves in the world. India is the fourth largest producer of coal in the world, producing 536.5 million metric tons (591.4 million short tons) in 2014."

liberty lee in reply to 8sdFhupZcL

While I have no particular animus toward solar and it may have a role in helping southern Asian and African markets where the lack of a grid means that no reliable energy source can currently be provided, you should be aware that "levelized costs" for solar or wind do not include the costs to supply electricity when wind and solar electricity are unavailable. What this means is that comparing distributed solar and wind generated electricity with grid electricity is akin to comparing apples and oranges.
You are, essentially, trying to compare inexpensive but unreliable electricity with reliable grid electricity.
That said, unreliable electricity is preferable to no electricity. Thus such solar and wind projects may be pursued to benefit consumers even though, as grids expand and make reliability the preferred norm, current investments will largely be stranded and wasted or heavily and damagingly subsidized.
Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts


News flash, there is no global warming, particularly global warming caused by humans. It is a method the "progressive" globalists use to control the masses. Even the prior head of Greenpeace knew that when he wrote his article about CO2 emissions (1). Simply, if the CO2 levels get any lower, all plant life would die. They are the lowest now in most of earth's history.
If you don't believe this, look it up. In fact, look up anything and research the issues for yourself. What you will find--if you are a leftist, liberal, mush-head--is that you have believed all the propaganda that the left puts out. What you think you "know" is really the regurgitation of the propaganda the left worships. All you know is what you have been told, and you have been lied to.
This brings me back to the point I love to make, it takes more faith to believe in science than it does religion. Why? Because religion, specifically Christianity, has more substantiated facts to back it up than modern climate science. If you don't believe that, which I am sure you do not if you are a liberal mush-head, look that up too (2).


India imports their coal. The US already possesses the resource. It is in India's best interests to minimize the import of coal for major economic reasons. Same for China. For the US, like Prime Minister Trudeau in Canada said, it would be foolish to not take advantage of natural resources within it's borders.


As far as America's coal industry, Dump to the rescue!
Dump is going to revive the American coal industry -- along with reviving the slide ruler, typewriter, and horse carriage industries.


TE writers focus on intent, rather than actual plans and results. India will continue to increase the use of coal. China will continue to increase the use of coal. Germany has, up to now, increased its use of coal, but may find a way to stop the increase.

The US has dramatically cut back on coal use, and will continue to reduce its use of coal, despite Trump's political posturing. New natural gas plants produce electricity much more cheaply than coal, while coincidentally reducing CO2 emissions and eliminating pollution.


Is something wrong with the economist??? I find it hard to believe that the magazine is actually reporting on a topic outside communalism, minority rights etc. Afterall India, in the eyes of many, continues to be a white man's burden??

8sdFhupZcL in reply to Sense Seeker

You are blithly passing over the fact that 300m Indians live in squalid living conditions.

To many, an existence where air pollution is endemic but power is available is a welcome alternative to existing in darkness.

While the point remains that coal should have no future, the economic reality is that unfortunately without an externality cost brought to bear on the coal industry, India is not a rich enough country to finance a clean energy expansion (or a semi-clean one like gas). In a country where tax evasion and corruption are commonplace, coal looks like it will continue for some time yet.

Luckily for the planet, Indians are not very efficient in deployment so it will be many years and hopefully a technological cycle before they begin to become a serious polluter.

RobS66 in reply to jaygem

The article clearly states that the largest coal mining company in the world is in India. How did you arrive at the factoid "India imports its coal"? Did find that somewhere, or invent it to support your narrative?

The reality is that India needs to reduce its dependence on coal DESPITE it is a domestic resource.

8sdFhupZcL in reply to liberty lee

Wholly agree with your points on dispatchability.

However, recent auctions have brought the price of solar in India (levalised) to about Rs. 3.50/kWh which is about 5 c/kWh

Coal under case I bids (which is the comparable) is about Rs. 4 to 5/kWh

As an addition to the energy mix in grid (5 to 10% of energy), this is a good solution.

liberty lee

Would The Economist please find a reporter on energy issues who actually understands something about energy production? It is appalling that so much misinformation is included in most articles on energy.

In this particular article, the reporter apparently does not understand the basic difference between "dispatchable" and "non-dispatchable" energy production. Energy engineers and planners know that solar and wind and even hydro power -- non-dispatchable technologies since at any given moment they may or may not be available to meet consumer demand -- cannot be substituted for fossil fuel, nuclear, or geothermal power -- dispatchable technologies since they can always be relied on to ramp up to meet consumer demands. Only dispatchable power can be relied upon and so, when one adds solar or wind generation, one gains nothing except the moral superiority of allowing oneself to be pleased that sometimes one is substituting expensive alternative energy for inexpensive traditional energy. Such self-satisfaction should be eschewed by Indian politicians who desperately need to supply inexpensive reliable electricity to their people.

While this one bit of ignorance makes the whole article an exercise in wishful thinking, an additional misunderstanding about energy costs puts the article in the category of unicorn and dragon fiction. Coal power which can still be produced at a levelized cost of about 4 cents per kwh is substantially less expensive than natural gas which has a levelized cost of between 6 and 11 cents per kwh. President Obama's "war on coal" has, through regulatory impositions, made coal much more expensive than it ought to be. The regulatory costs associated with removing NOX and SOX and particulates from coal emissions are, of course, justified but if Trump removes other regulatory burdens, coal mine owners currently argue that they will be able to produce electricity for 4 cents per kwh. See Murray Coal. It is true that full employment will never return to the relativey clean anthracite mines of Appalachia since mining has thankfully been heavily automated -- which is good for both costs and miner health -- but The Econonist's arguments that coal is dying due to market conditions is sheer nonsense.

Please find more knowledgeable reporters before printing more fantasy about energy. It gets annoying to read such bosh week after week.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts


On the topic of climate change, only two, mutually exclusive positions have my respect:
1) climate change is not man-made, therefore policies concerning, coal burning for example, is under the power of sovereign right.
2) climate change is white-man-made, therefore developed countries need to act responsibly, such as, restitution and/or green technology transfer.
Let's see pale faced bifurcate into bold-faced and red-faced...hehehe...

8sdFhupZcL in reply to RobS66

Actually Indian coal is high ash and high sulphur - not very good for efficient power plants.

Also India's Coal India has a terrible record of extraction of coal and there are always supply shortages.

India does import a lot of coal from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa.

8sdFhupZcL in reply to Kremilek2

Most of the south INdian rivers are rain fed and thus not very good for hydropower.

North Indian rivers are located in crowded states where water is important for irrgation, religion etc.

There are only a few mountainous states where hydropower will be deployed. Not nearly enough.


I find this article is over optimistic. India is still betting a lot on coal and plans for renewables are very ambitious. Is the potential of hydropower in India already exhausted?