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Can India get rich and go green at the same time? The stakes couldn’t be higher

today 12/07/2023
India's former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi spoke about the challenge faced by developing nations to industrialize without causing harm to the environment. Her words are still relevant today as the tension between economic growth and environmental protection is at the center of global discussions on climate change. India's current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, emphasized the need for developing countries to have a fair share in the global carbon budget at the COP28 climate talks. Despite the rising global temperatures, many governments continue to view coal, oil, and gas as sources of economic development and energy security. As a result, fossil fuel production is expected to exceed the limit set by the Paris climate agreement. India is one of the major contributors to this overshoot as it increases its coal and oil consumption to meet the needs of its population. However, the country is also making significant investments in and setting ambitious targets for renewable energy. India has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2070, although this target is later than that of developed economies. Transforming India's energy sector will have far-reaching implications for the global energy market and efforts to limit global warming. Despite its growing energy consumption, India's energy use and emissions per person are less than the world average. However, this could change rapidly as rising incomes lead to increased energy demand, primarily met by coal, oil, and solid biomass. India is expected to achieve impressive economic milestones and experience significant urbanization and infrastructure development, leading to a surge in demand for coal and steel. Furthermore, electricity demand is projected to increase due to improved standards of living and climate change-induced heatwaves. Coal currently accounts for a significant portion of India's electricity generation and is expected to remain so in the near future. The future role of fossil fuels remains controversial.
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