India is ready to shift to clean energy sources but the transition will be in accordance with the country’s “national circumstances”, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
At an online event organised by The Indian Express and the Financial Times, Yadav said that while “phase out” of coal use would mean a complete stop on using the resource, “phasing down” would be the reduction in the proportion of coal in the overall energy mix.
“India being a developing country, phase-down can also be relative in the sense that the percentage of coal in the overall mix will go down but the absolute use of coal in terms of power generation and other industrial activity may rise,” Yadav told The Indian Express.
The Union minister said that India will achieve the targets that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow earlier this month.
Modi had said that India will fulfil 50% of its energy requirements through renewable sources by 2030 and reach net zero carbon emissions by 2070.
At the climate change conference, countries had decided to phase out the use of coal as a fuel. However, India and China reportedly proposed to change the text of the pact from “phase out” use of coal to “phase down”. India faced criticism for watering down the resolution.
Yadav said on Tuesday that the change to the pact was approved by consensus. Indian officials have also said that the country was being unfairly blamed for weakening the pact.
The Union minister told The Indian Express that India will require financial and technological help from developed countries to achieve its targets.
“India’s announcements at Glasgow are considerably ambitious,” the environment minister said. “But we do not believe in making empty pronouncements. These are carefully considered. It is up to the developed countries to support our ambition through finance and technology transfer.”
Yadav also said that more funds were needed to achieve the global target of net-zero emissions by 2050. For this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the developed countries should raise $1 trillion (or approximately 74.40 lakh crore) every year, the minister added.
“What India is doing shows India is committed towards a solution,” Yadav said. “But what is the responsibility of the others?” The minister said that other countries should also specify whether or not they are willing to fulfill their commitments.
The minister, who represented India in Glasgow, has previously said that the use of coal had helped countries achieve high levels of growth. “Developing countries have a right to their fair share of the global carbon budget and are entitled to the responsible use of fossil fuels within this scope,” he wrote in a blog on November 14.
An official had told The Indian Express earlier this month that India will need some amount of coal production till 2030 to fulfil its demands.
“We cannot suddenly and completely shut down one of our major energy sectors,” the official had said. “Of course, we are working toward transition to renewables as can be seen in the announcements made by the prime minister at COP.”