Skip to main content

Can civil society afford to ignore disastrous Govt of India decisions on energy sector?

By Shankar Sharma* 

Whereas the ongoing global crises, as a consequence of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, can be represented by a sort of energy crises leading to vastly increased usage of fossil fuels and a lot more focus on nuclear power, which can only mean furthering the global climate emergency, what is critical for the global community is not lose the much-needed attention on the climate change front. Whereas these crises seem to have given another opportunity to a few vested interests among the global corporate world to make money through these old and costly energy technologies, there are also few developments to indicate that a diligently planned and honestly implemented action plan towards net-zero target at an early date will bring massive benefits not only for the local communities, but also to the global society. Some of the associated news links are as below.
But the trillion Dollar question is whether our political leaders, having chosen to adopt a myopic view of economic development, and the bureaucrats, who seem to be too happy to toe the political line of their bosses, will really care to objectively consider these developments, and make honest efforts to modify our action plans accordingly? In their obsession with the high GDP growth rate paradigm, they seem to be completely ignoring the harsh reality that the unabated demand growth for materials and energy, is the root cause for most of the global crises, and certainly for the global climate emergency.
They should be repeatedly reminded that it is techno-economically feasible, people friendly and sustainable to aim for early green energy transition and/or net zero carbon emission target.
Germany and Japan are reported to be considering reviving some of their nuclear power plants, which were destined to be closed down. China is reported to be only increasing its ambitions on nuclear power. Our own NITI Aayog "experts" are advocating for widespread usage of small modular reactors (SMR) to provide a considerable percent of electricity through nuclear power without considering the overall costs, risks and impacts on our communities.
The global societies seem to be more than keen to accept any associated risks and costs in investing more in such technologies, instead of reducing their energy demand slightly, and to modify their lifestyles; even though some of these risks can be life threatening in nature. Whereas, a modest reduction in the overall energy demand (and hence in material demand) is socio-economically feasible & hugely attractive, and is vastly more sustainable and green, the increased usage of fossil fuels and nuclear fuels seem to be the most preferred options for our authorities. Costs and risks to the larger society seem to be of no concern to them.
For example, a 10-15% reduction in the AT&C loss in India's electric power network is both essential and techno-economically attractive, a considerable reduction in the legitimate demand for electricity (say 20-30%) is both desirable and socially acceptable. By doing so with all the seriousness possible at all levels of our society, our country can completely eliminate the need for any nuclear power plants (including the existing ones), and can drastically reduce the total number of fossil fuel power plants in the next 10-15 years, and to eliminate most of them by 2040-50; certainly much before 2070.
Some of the recent newslink, as below, should drive home the need for urgent actions in this regard.
Many computer models and academic studies have been acknowledging this techno-economic feasibility/ attractiveness (early green energy transition and/or net zero carbon emission target) repeatedly in recent years. But our authorities are offering many lame excuses for not going ahead with this concept.
In the Indian context, there seems no credible study to challenge such techno-economic feasibility. So, our communities are being burdened with the disastrous BAU scenario, without any clear plan and without any cohesive policies, and only based on multiple, unsubstantiated and myopic policy decisions: such as more of coal mines and coal power plants; the controversial mandate to states to import coal; irrational policies on unacceptably high cost nuclear power plants and hydel power plants, and large size solar/wind power parks. Can civil society afford to continue to ignore such disastrous approaches in the critical energy sector ?
It should be highlighted that way back in 2017, Professor Mark Jacobson and colleagues from Stanford University published a scientific paper outlining a roadmap for 139 countries to transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Prof Jacobson, an expert in renewable energy and climatology, describes how this paper, along with many other studies, make up a "body of work, carried out by over 85 authors and 35 peer-reviewers, [which] is further supported by an additional 30 peer-reviewed studies that find it is possible to match demand with supply with 100 percent or near-100 percent renewable energy systems."
It may be termed as a serious let down of our people that none of the authorities, whether it is NITI Aayog, or Ministry of Power, Or Central Electricity Authority, have deemed it a critical need, from the overall welfare perspective of our people, to closely examine such global reports or simulation studies, and seriously undertake similar studies to reflect our specific conditions, constraints and strengths, so as to hasten the action plan towards the much needed green energy transition. The so-called net-zero target of 2070 for India, as announced at the global platform of COP26 with much fanfare, will undoubtedly be too small and too late.
It should be a matter of great concern to all right thinking intellectuals in India, that the absence of a diligently prepared energy policy, and an effective action plan to achieve early energy transition for the country should indicate the callous indifference towards the need for a cohesive set of enabling policies and a serious lack of concern to the long term welfare of our people.
Hence, the haunting question: why are our governments continuing to pour our meager resources into opening more coal mines, coal power plants, and nuclear power plants? As a significant part of a responsible civil society, shall we not make earnest efforts to ask the concerned authorities to provide satisfactory explanations in this regard?
---
*Power & Climate Policy Analyst

Comments

TRENDING

Vishwanath has been unfairly excluded from global list of 100 best cricketers

By Harsh Thakor  Gundappa Vishwanath scaled zones in batting artistry or wizardry unparalleled amongst Indian batsmen. The best of his batting was a manifestation of the divine. He was also the epitome of cricketing sportsmanship. Sadly 40 years ago he unceremoniously bid farewell to the International cricket world, after the concluding test at Karachi in 1982-83., in January end. Very hard to visualise a character like Vishwanath being reborn today His memories are embedded in cricket lovers today when sportsmanship and grace have virtually been relegated to oblivion with the game of cricket turned into a commercial commodity. Today agro and unsporting behaviour is a routine feature Vishy shimmered cricket’s spirituality. His behaviour on the cricket field was grace personified, No one in his age defined cricket more as a gentleman’s game, than Vishy. Vishwanath could execute strokes that were surreal with his steel wrists. His strokeplay resembled the touches of a painter’s brush,

Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Here is a detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties , “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

Reproductive, conjugal rights of women in India amidst debate of uniform civil code

By IMPRI Team  A Three-Day Immersive Online Legal Awareness and Certificate Training Course on “Reproductive and Conjugal Rights of Women in India” is an initiative of the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, and ran for three consecutive days starting from December 22, 2022 to December 24, 2022. The online paid certification was aimed to provide attendees with an enriching experience on the gender discourse with a special focus on women’s rights and the much-discussed reproductive rights in India.

Covid jabs: Pretexts cited to justify young, healthy succumbing to heart attacks

By Jay Ihsan   Truth is stranger than fiction – when dedicated doctors raised the red flag against the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, they were persecuted and their concerns barred from being heard. These honest doctors unequivocally made it known the Moderna Pfizer vaccines injure the heart and human body. One of them, Dr Peter McCullough, an American cardiologist, has repeatedly issued the clarion call to people to reject these harmful vaccines. An equally alarmed World Council for Health said the harmful Covid-19 vaccines should be removed from the market and the global inoculation must be stopped. “In Japan the vaccines were not mandated or made compulsory. The vaccines are not safe or effective enough to mandate them. The day the vaccines go away will be a day of celebration,” Dr Mccullough had lamented during an interview with India’s media outfit, Qvive several months ago. Meanwhile, the number of people jabbed with the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines died soon after or have developed lifelong

Gender gap 17%, SC and ST levels of education between 7% to 14% below upper classes

By IMPRI Team  The treatment of school education in a holistic manner and improving school effectiveness in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and learning outcomes has been the aspiration of all and multiple challenges are faced to maintain and provide proper education. On the occasion of India@75: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, as part of its series- the State of Education- #EducationDialogue, #IMPRI Center for ICT for Development (CICTD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organised a special deliberation on The State of School Education In India with Prof Muchkund Dubey, who is the President of the Council for Social Development, New Delhi. The moderator for the event, Dr Simi Mehta CEO and Editorial Director of the IMPRI. The chair of the event was Prof Jandhyala B.G. Tilak, an Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) National Fellow, the Distinguished Professor at the Council for Social Development, New Delhi and also a Former Professor & Vice-Ch

Rahul Dravid exhibited selflessness in heights unscaled by any other Indian batsman

By Harsh Thakor*  On January 11th maestro Rahul Dravid turned 50. No Indian batsmen were ever more of an embodiment of temperament or grit.as Rahul Dravid. Dravid was the best ambassador of sportsmanship in cricket in his day and age. In his time no Asian batsmen did what the doctor ordered, to the extent of Dravid. Dravid was manifestation of single-mindedess, tenacity and selflessness in sport. One hardly has an adjective to the ice coolness and craft Dravid exhibited in adjusting to the given situation. Rarely did any batsmen exhibit such a clinical o methodical approach to batting.

Data analytics: How scientific enquiry process impacts quality of policy research

By IMPRI Team  Given the multidimensionality of policy and impact research, tech-driven policy prescriptions are playing a dominant role in the 21st century. As such, data analytics have become integral in this space. IMPRI Generation Alpha Data Centre (GenAlphaDC) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute New Delhi has successfully conducted a #WebPolicyTalk 6-Week Immersive Online Hands-on Certificate Training Course on Data Analytics for Policy Research, spanning over 6-consecutive Saturdays from October 15th to November 19th, 2022. Along with this, datasets for hands-on learning were also provided for data analysis and learning. Participants were required to make a submission for evaluation at the end of the course, to obtain the certificate. This course comprised hands-on data learning sessions and various expert sessions on data discourses. The course especially catered to data and policy enthusiasts – including students, professionals, researchers, and other individuals lo

NHRC blindly followed BSF status report on fencing farmland off Indo-Bangladesh border

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) writes an open letter of protest against the action taken status report on restriction imposed by the BSF personnel upon the villagers of Changmari near Indo-Bangladesh border: *** I have the honour to inform you that we received one action taken status report dated 11.01.2023 from your Commission in respect of the above referred case from where it is revealed that your authority closed the case based on the report of the concerned authorities. In this connection I again raise my voice as the enquiry in respect of the above referred case was not properly conducted. Hence I submit this open letter of protest for the ends of justice. From the action taken status report of the Commission dated 11.01.2023 it is reported that concerned authority submitted a report dated 18.01.2022 where it is reported that the concerned area comes under the OPS responsibility of BOP Chengmari, 62 Bn BSF and is highly susceptible to trans-bo

Great march of migrants during lockdown: Lessons not learned, missed opportunities

By IMPRI Team  A panel discussion on “The Great March of Migrants During The National Lockdown: Lessons Not Learned and Missed Opportunities” was organized by the #IMPRI Center for Human Centre for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the occasion of International Migrants Day, i.e December 18, 2022. Inaugurating the session, Ms Aanchal Kumari, a researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panellists. The event was moderated by Dr Devender Singh, a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists included Prof. R.B Bhagat, Professor and Head, Department of Migration and Urban Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai; Prof Arun Kumar, Distinguished Economist, a Former Professor Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Malcolm S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi; Ms Akriti Bhatia, Founder of People

Brutal assault on Delhi Univ students as fear grips present rulers on rise of dissent

By Arhaan Baaghi  Various democratic student organizations (bsCEM, fraternity, DSU, SIO, AIRSO) had planned a screening of the BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question" in the Delhi University Arts Faculty, but the guards of the university and the Delhi police along with paramilitary forcefully detained the students just because we were trying to watch a documentary that scrutinizes the role of Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots. At first when the students started screening the documentary, the electricity of the department building was cut down. Students were brutally beaten by the police and university guards. Female students were also brutally manhandled and beaten. This whole incident shows the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist nature of the government and the university authority that is working as its puppet. An activist of bsCEM was manhandled by a male security guard, who tried to pull out his T shirt. Also various female activist were dragged by male security guards and their h