The nation of India is expected to double its energy demand by the year 2030, according to the International Energy Agency – an energy policy advisor to 27 member countries.
It’s thought that 70% of India’s energy future will come from coal, says Ambuj Sagar of Harvard University. Sagar has studied ways to develop sustainable policies for India’s coal sector. He told EarthSky that it’s important to make good policies now, because India will likely be dependent on coal for the next 30 to 40 years to fuel its rapid economic growth.
Sagar said India lacks an efficient power system now. He said only a fraction of the energy generated by power plants actually reaches homes and factories.
Ambuj Sagar: One can – even with existing generation – do better than we are doing right now. And as we add more generation, make sure the power that’s generated is used much more efficiently.
He said it’s necessary to address the impacts of coal extraction itself. Strip mining has a significant effect on the landscape and local pollution. And there are human consequences as well. Two and a half million people have been displaced by mining in India over the past 60 years.
Burning coal contributes to global greenhouse gases, but Sagar said India’s impact is small relative to industrialized countries.
Our thanks to:
Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Learning to love science. As a producer for EarthSky, Lindsay Patterson interviews some of the world's most fascinating scientists. Through EarthSky, her work content is syndicated on some of the world's top media websites, including USAToday.com and Reuters.com. Patterson is also charged with helping to stay in steady communication with the thousands of scientists who contribute to EarthSky's work of making the voice of science heard in a noisy world. She graduated from Colorado College with a degree in creative writing, and a keen interest in all forms of journalism and media.