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Nevermind the colour: It’s the emissions that matter and not the fuel, is apparently India’s new stance on energy policy as coal continues to fuel the country | Photo: Yale

India: “Need to talk about emissions, not coal”, $60 billion committed for new gas grid

India’s Power Minister has said that the world needed to restructure the debate on coal and focus more on emissions reduction. The minister was speaking at the India Energy Week and reiterated that coal would continue to be vital to meeting India’s future energy demands. However, it appears that most new capacity will come from ‘supercritical’ and ‘advanced ultra-supercritical’ plants, which have significantly reduced carbon emissions.

The country’s oil and gas minister, meanwhile, has revealed that $60 billion in investments have already been committed for new projects in natural gas, that will expand the nation’s gas grid to each state by 2024. The eastern leg of the expansion — the Urja Ganga project — will lay pipelines to link the eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal, and supply 16 million standard cubic metres per day. 

20 oil & gas firms caused a third of all global CO2 emissions

A new study by the Climate Accountability Institute says that 20 of the world’s largest oil & gas firms are together responsible for 35% of the billions of CO2 and methane emitted into the atmosphere under human activity. The names include usual suspects Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and BP, apart from Russia’s Gazprom and Saudi Aramco — the first four alone together emitting 10% of the total — despite having known about the climate impact of the fuels as early as 1965. 

Chevron, in other news, is said to be targeting a 5-10% reduction in GHG emissions from its oil drilling operations by 2023. It will also aim for a 2-5% reduction in emissions intensity from natural gas drilling, and is investing in carbon capture and storage (CCS). Saudi Aramco, on the other hand, is reluctant to abandon oil drilling, and is instead investing millions into cleaner internal combustion engines. 

Germany to heighten taxes on flights, may slash compensation for coal power developers

Reports suggest that the German cabinet may increase taxes on both short-haul and long-haul flights. The move is aimed as a deterrent to people choosing air travel over other, less carbon-intensive modes of travel, and may be in response to the fast growing flight-shaming movement in Europe
The country is also likely to slash compensation to its coal power developers for shutting down 5GW of capacity by 2023 — from €1.2-1.5/GW to a mere €1 billion for the entire lot. If passed, the decision may be keenly protested by the affected power developers, which includes RWE, Uniper SE and STEAG GmBH. And in a further blow, the utilities may have to compete for the funds via an auction, with the lowest bidder likely to receive preference.