Climate policy Running wild: The Chhattisgarh government’s nod to auction 17 coal blocks that cover areas that are home to elephants and leopards is cause for concern | Photo: ET Energyworld

Chhattisgarh gives nod to auction of 17 coal blocks

The Chhattisgarh government approved the auctioning of 17 of the 18 coal blocks that had been zeroed in by the central government, HT reported. These blocks are located in areas that are rich in wildlife, including elephants and leopards, and activists pointed out that the blocks have been approved even though there has been no increase in demand for coal.

The Union environment ministry, meanwhile, allowed mining permits to be transferred from previous leaseholders to new lessees without obtaining fresh forest clearance, HT reported. The government granted this exemption to make it easier to handover mines that are up for auction in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, HT reported sources as saying.  

EU unveils ‘Fit for 55’ package to tackle climate change

The European Union (EU) announced its ‘Fit for 55’ package, which aims to act on the green goals set by the region in the coming decade. The EU’s collective goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels. The plan includes introducing a carbon border tax, levying taxes on aviation and shipping fuels and raising the cost of carbon emissions from heating, transport and manufacturing. 

100 days to COP26: Developing nations urge rich countries to cut emissions faster

With less than 100 days left for the COP26 in Glasgow, more than 100 developing nations urged their rich counterparts to speed up their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. They also asked developed nations to provide financial assistance to low-income countries that are worst-hit by climate change and are struggling to mitigate. Least developed countries (LDCs) presented five demands ahead of the COP, which included urging developed countries to push up the deadline and upgrade their national plans to cut emissions and providing LDCs with $100 billion a year in climate finance. In a separate but related development, India decided to skip a crucial G20 meeting on climate change and called for more aggressive climate action in the near term from developed nations, while also raising objections with the coal phase out schedule proposed by the G20.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), meanwhile, warned greenhouse gas emissions are likely to reach record levels by 2023 if governments’ COVID-19 green recovery plans fail to take off. Scientists warned that failure will ensure the Paris climate goals are well out of reach, and emissions must be halved in this decade if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C. 

China launches much-awaited carbon emissions trading scheme

China’s national emissions trading scheme (ETS) went live this month. According to reports, 4.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide quotas worth 210 million yuan ($32 million) were traded. The world’s largest carbon market and the first phase of trading includes 2,000 power plants that are responsible for more than 4 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions. The average transaction price closed at 51.23 yuan ($7.92) per tonne on the first trading day, which was up 6.7%. Companies such as PetroChina and Sinopec participated in the first day of trading. 

Indonesia’s updated 2030 climate plan to still rely on coal in 2050s

Indonesia’s updated 2030 climate plan could mean the country will continue burning coal well into the 2050s. According to the plan, in a low-carbon scenario, 76% of coal-fired power plants will have carbon-capture technology that will bring down their emissions to zero. But experts said the jury is out on whether this technology will be able to capture all the carbon emissions in a cost-effective manner. An IEA analysis showed that currently, generating power using coal and carbon capture technology is an expensive affair when compared to using renewable energy. Indonesia is the second-largest coal producer in the world.