Noting that the International Energy Agency (IEA) reaffirmed its position that thermal power plants contribute to air pollution, Greenpeace India today said the government should not delay halting its expansion plans for coal plants.
“It is clear that India needs an aggressive shift to clean energy now. There should be no delay in implementing the thermal power plant emission standards and halting the expansion of coal-based power.
“This is the only way to keep our air quality within breathable limits and reduce premature deaths,” said Sunil Dahiya, Campaigner, Climate and Energy, Greenpeace India.
He said the government should move urgently to meet the three recommendations by the IEA – set an ambitious long-term goal for reducing air pollution, create a comprehensive clean air policy package for the energy sector including both emission controls and clean energy, and ensure effective monitoring and enforcement of emission standards.
The IEA report released today suggests 85 per cent of particulate matter and almost all of the sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides result from fuel combustion.
According to the report around 60 per cent of global combustion-related sulphur dioxide emissions originate from coal. “Global fuel combustion increases steadily in our main scenario to help meet a one-third rise in global energy demand,” the report said.
“But global emissions of particulate matter are projected to fall by 7 per cent, sulphur dioxide by 20 per cent and nitrogen oxides by 10 per cent over the period to 2040. This de-coupling of trends is due, in roughly equal measure, to the application of air pollution control technologies and the broader global transition to cleaner energy,” the report said.
“If India keeps to its current pathway for providing energy, there are bound to be immediate and long term effects on our health, with people dying day by day.
“The need of the hour is to look towards comprehensive solutions, reducing fossil fuel dependence to the minimum, and creating space for renewable energy.
“The only way to tackle rising health crises due to air pollution is to formulate a comprehensive, systematic and time bound clean air action plan,” Dahiya said.