Power minister takes swipe at west but acknowledges power plants will not meet goals
India’s ageing power stations will miss a government deadline to slash their emissions, the country’s power minister has admitted, as he reiterated the country’s longstanding position that the responsibility for tackling global pollution rests squarely with the west.
Stricter standards from the country’s environment ministry, introduced two years ago, gave the country’s mostly state-owned thermal power plants until December this year to cut carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions and reduce their water use.
The new rules, which affect stations differently depending on how old they are but require cuts of up to two-thirds in particulate matter, were intended to ‘minimise pollution’.
But Piyush Goyal, the power minister, told the Financial Times that the country’s coal power stations, three-quarters of which are owned by the government, “will take some more time” to upgrade their technology and cut emissions.
“India is not a polluter. It’s America and the western world that has to first stop polluting?.?.?.?India is doing its bit far more than we are responsible” he said. “We don’t have enough domestic capacity to meet this requirement in such a short period.”
India is heavily reliant on coal for its electricity, more than three-quarters of which was generated by its 132 coal-fired power stations in 2014-15, according to the most recent data from the central electricity authority. However, while it is the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in absolute terms, its per capita emissions are a fraction of many other nations’, at just 1.59 metric tonnes a year, compared with 7.55 for China and 16.39 for the US.