Out of thin air: An RTI reply has debunked the jobs justification given by Indian PM Narendra Modi to launch commercial coal auctions in the country, stating that there was no data to support such a claim | Photo: Lacuna.org.uk

No data to support PM’s claim that coal auction would create lakhs of jobs: Coal ministry’s RTI reply

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the commercial coal mining auctions in June this year, he claimed the move would create ‘lakhs of jobs’. But a written RTI reply, the coal ministry burst that bubble by saying it did not have any supporting data, on either employment or revenue generation, to back that claim. 

The ministry was replying to researcher and author Sandeep Pai, who had cited a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which claimed the auction would generate jobs for 2.8 lakh people and contribute Rs20,000 crore annually in revenue for the state governments, and had asked for a copy of the report/study/survey/white paper/consultancy report/calculation or any other methodology based on which these numbers were estimated.  

Retired coal plants will be replaced by renewables: India’s power minister

In an encouraging sign for India’s green future, its power minister RK Singh announced that the world’s second-largest coal consumer is planning to replace its retiring coal-fired power plants with renewable generating capacity. If this happens, it will propel India towards its goal to meet 40% of its energy requirement from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 and discourage the use of cheap Chinese imports to meet demands for solar cells and modules. 

Doha Amendment comes into force after last-minute ratifications from Nigeria, Jamaica

The Doha Amendment is set to come into force before it expires this year thanks to a last-minute ratification by Nigeria. The country formally endorsed the climate treaty just before the deadline that required 144 out of 192 signatories to ratify the deal lapsed. Jamaica was also a late mover and rushed to endorse the treaty just before Nigeria.

This marks the end of the era of the Kyoto Protocol, which set binding climate targets on 37 developed countries in 1997. The Doha Amendment, signed in 2012, extended those obligations to cut emissions from 2013 to 2020. The significance of this milestone is mostly on paper as the world prepares to enter the Paris Agreement commitment period starting next year.

EU Parliament votes to upgrade 2030 target to cut emissions from 40% to 60%

Proving once again that they are leading the way when it comes to climate action, the EU Parliament voted in favour of a proposed amendment that pushes to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030. If passed, the proposed amendment will be a significant upgrade to the EU’s current target of 40% currently. The text of the amendment will not be put before the EU Council of Ministers for final approval. The vote is part of a larger discussion and vote on the proposed European Climate Law, which aims to enshrine Europe’s target of climate neutrality by 2050 into legislation.  

China may need $5 trillion in investments to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060

China shocked the world last month by announcing its target to become carbon neutral by 2060. A consultancy firm has now estimated that the transition would require an investment influx of more than $5 trillion. This would include investment in renewable power generation capacity, Wood Mackenzie claimed. 

The firm estimated that in order for China to reach its target, its solar, wind and storage capacities will have to increase 11 times by 2050 compared to 2020 levels (5,040 GW) and coal-fired capacity will have to be cut by half. The biggest hurdle, however, will be the social transition, primarily because of the loss of coal mining jobs, the firm stated. 

Prince William, Sir David Attenborough announce £50-million green prize 

Britain’s Prince William and Sir David Attenborough announced the biggest environmental prize ever – £50-million ‘Earthshot Prize’ to be awarded over 10 years to 50 solutions to the world’s gravest environmental problems. The campaign will announce 5 awards of £1 million each year till 2030. Some of the problems that the campaign is looking to solve are cleaning up the air, protecting and restoring nature, fixing the climate and restoring the oceans.

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