First World experts do not have a business scolding nations who prefer prosperity to poverty
India is just one of a growing number of “developing countries” that have recognized that the frenzied run for a “net-zero carbon” economy is not serving the interests of their ordinary citizens. These countries are also aware of the fact that fulfilling the public interest requires a substantial increase in the abundant, affordable, reliable and mostly fossil fuel electricity to power their emerging economies.
When first world reporters write of the developing world’s enduring love affair with fossil fuels, their reports are “not necessarily the news!” Instead, they edit almost every story about the “sad” trust India, China, African nations and other countries have in the “highest environmentally harmful resource” – coal.
The sirens of cyberspace have embraced the dictates of the Paris Agreement that countries must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” as quickly as possible. Otherwise, they will chirp together, the earth will soon become a burning inferno from overheating caused by CO2 released when fossil fuels are burned.
The “scholars” have decided that any “climate change” will necessarily bring unspeakable horrors to all of us. The zeal for climatic stasis by those currently at the top of the pyramid is so great that some have even suggested darkening the sky permanently to prevent the imaginary heat from killing us! This very risky endeavor could affect all life on earth. (In reality, a far worse future would be a colder climate with less atmospheric CO2, as this would reduce arable land, growing seasons, and plant growth.)
But the elitists in Washington, Brussels and New York City have a big problem. China, the world’s leading provider of CO2 emissions, and India, already number 3, are failing to meet their requirements. The African countries are now planning to build more than 1,250 new coal and gas power plants by 2030. And neither the UN peacekeeping forces nor the increasingly “awakened” US or EU military can be used to force these nations to “comply” with submission.
In recognition of this uncomfortable reality, the Climate Elites now rely on the old adage, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Public shaming has worked well for First World companies. So why not use it worldwide?
A necessary first step in restoring “right order” was President Biden’s fulfilled promise to immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement and expose the US economy to its whims. In order to put a stop to the calls for “unfair trade advantages” for the two most populous nations in the world, the “masters of the universe” have let go of the media dogs to appease the “lower” peoples, to beg and to signal virtues.
The last round of shame has already begun for India. On March 17, reporters from Bloomberg Quint (Bloomberg’s Indian subsidiary) Archana Chaudhary, Akshat Rathi and Rajesh Kumar Singh announced that “senior Indian government officials are debating a target to zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century to put. ” (At no point did the intrepid reporters actually name any of these officials.)
The Bloomberg trio went on to claim that “officials close to Prime Minister Narenda Modi” are drawing up plans to meet the net-zero target by 2050 – a full decade ahead of China – which says it intends to reduce its carbon footprint. Final limit emissions to any level have reached by 2060 after four more decades of growth. Nonetheless, “Modi must also steer potential setbacks from within his administration” in order to achieve the goals demanded by dignitaries such as US “climate envoy” John Kerry.
In a follow-up article six days later, Singh and Debjit Chakraborty cited a new report proclaiming that “India must phase out its coal-fired power plants” to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And two days later, Singh claimed India was “under increasing pressure to improve its climate protection commitments, which has forced government officials to debate a possible net-zero emissions target.” In addition, Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described investments in fossil fuels as “a human disaster and a bad economy”. [emphasis added]
Unsurprisingly, Singh’s March 25 report was also full of “bad” news. India has launched its largest ever coal mine auction in the country “despite the key role fossil fuels play in global warming”. The auction opens coal mining to private companies, thereby displacing the state monopoly over the domestic coal market. This, he claimed, “sends mixed signals at a time when the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter needs to reduce its reliance on coal.”
Despite the sermon, Singh admitted that the Indian government sees private coal mining as a way to create jobs in an economy devastated by the COVID pandemic. He acknowledged that coal mining projects will bring new investment and promote socio-economic development in mining regions (and beyond). He even quoted Tim Buckley of the Institute of Energy and Financial Analysis, who recognizes that “India cannot just stop using coal overnight”. Coal is still “a necessary evil” for the country.
There is another problem with the Bloomberg version of India’s alleged search for Net Zero.
Vijay Jayaraj, Research Associate for Developing Countries at the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of
Creation accused the Bloomberg trio of pushing India to ban coal. Jayaraj noted that “no official sources have confirmed that New Delhi is developing a net zero target for 2050” and derided “the anti-fossil lobby, which includes journalists” for trying to defeat developing countries pressuring them to shut down their fossil fuel industry – condemning billions to poverty, limited opportunities and the minimal standard of living that can be sustained by expensive, intermittent wind and solar power.
India, says Jayaraj, is building a fossil fuel dominated energy sector, not a green one. The country is also looking to curb inflation and secure additional oil imports when “anti-fossil journalists create confusion by claiming the Indian government is now aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050”. Predictably, Bloomberg did not respond when Jayaraj asked which “officials close” to Prime Minister Modi they were quoting.
Indeed, unimpressed by the sirens, India is launching a second round of commercial coal mining auctions with 67 locations open to bidding on. The nation needs a steady increase in coal production to support its growing coal-fired fleet, and is currently building new coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 36.6 gigawatts (GW). There are another 29.3 GW in the pipeline.
India is also increasing its trust in this other bugbear of the Green Monarchy – crude oil, a very important commodity for the Indian economy. The third largest oil importer in the world, whose truck industry works almost exclusively with petroleum products, is now buying oil from Guyana and Brazil. The recovery from COVID is being slowed by rising oil prices, so diversifying supply is vital.
According to Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Africa also “plays a central role” in helping India further diversify its sourcing of crude oil, liquefied natural gas and other petroleum and energy products, “mainly because of its proximity and the lack of throttling points in transhipment.” Oil (and South American) markets are vital to the Indian economy, Jayaraj notes.
Meanwhile, India responded to the signal from Bloomberg reporters to extend deadlines for coal-fired power plants by up to three years to install flue gas desulfurization systems (gas scrubbers) that reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants. Utilities that miss even these late targets could resume operations after paying a fine. The Indian Ministry of Energy stated that this measure is intended to avoid an immediate increase in electricity prices.
As Jayaraj concludes, India’s openness to new oil producers and a drive to accelerate coal mining are sending a clear signal: India’s leaders are more concerned about the economic well-being of their citizens than they are about pleasing bureaucrats and stuffed-shirted billionaires living in luxury thousands from miles away. That must damage their ego – and underline the madness and the futility of net zero quests by the US, the EU and other nations.
Duggan Flanakin is director of policy research on the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org).