Even in the face of damning reports, thermal power plants continue to pollute

2 yrs on, Coal plants allowed’ to pollute, Green court asks govt to explain, consumers pay for ‘clean coal’?

As the government plans to extend thermal power plants’ emissions deadline, over 60% of them continue to spew illegal amount of pollutants. The deadline to reduce emissions ended on Dec 7 with over 300 out of 500 coal plants found violating the norms set 2 years ago. Worse, in the ‘world’s most polluted city’ Delhi, not a single polluter has been booked in the last 3 years, and across the country just over a hundred air pollution cases have been registered.

‘Clarify stand’ on polluting coal plants

India’s highest climate court (The National Green Tribunal) has sought clarification from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on why coal plants were emitting beyond permissible limits. “Show us one plant where compliance has been done”, the bench remarked as it ordered the government to clarify its stand on the issue in the next hearing.

‘Coal India’ world’s worst polluter

Government-owned ‘Coal India’ has topped the list of 250 biggest polluters of the world – with 2076.2 million tonnes of annual GHG emissions, while three other Indian firms are among the 100 global businesses with the highest carbon footprint. 14 of the top 100 emitters in 2016 were from China.

Consumers to pay for ‘clean coal’, ‘No point’ pursuing coal

The government may allow coal plants to pass on the cost of installing pollution abatement technologies to consumers. Meanwhile experts have warned against investing in coal in the 2020s as it would trap India into the wrong technology. To suggest that coal can help poorer states is superficial, experts said, adding that India should be wary of the yet-to-be-invented clean coal energy at a time when renewables are getting cheaper.

In 10 yrs, Europe’s coal plants will bleed more cash

Almost all coal plants in the EU will run huge losses in next 10 years, relying on subsidies to stay open and compete with renewables. 97% of plants will reportedly suffer negative cashflow by 2030, even as 54% of the region’s plants already fail to break even.

India cuts fossil fuel subsidies by ‘$15.4 billion’

A new report says India reduced its energy subsidies by over $15 billion (Rs 82,000 crore) between 2014 and 2016. The decline could be because of India’s reforms to curb oil and gas subsidies as well as due to the decrease in global oil prices. In 2009, India committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, perhaps in light of the fact that 1.8 million die in India due to air pollution. If India cuts fossil fuel subsidies it could prevent up to 65% of these deaths.

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