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IEA Head: India’s Coal Exit Cannot Happen Without Financial Support

India and other developing nations should get international financial support, as well as strong government commitment and aid, in order to phase out coal and contribute to emissions reduction, Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said on Wednesday at an energy event.

The world as a whole needs to exit coal, he said, but noted that for many coal-dependent nations, including India, the exit would need a lot of international financial assistance, and it would not be fair to ask emerging economies to stop using coal without support.

“Therefore it is extremely important on how we on one hand get out of the coal and at the same time do not have a negative impact on emerging markets,” Birol said at the Energy Horizons Leadership Dialogue organized by Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), cited by Indian outlet PTI.

“So in my view, we have to exit coal worldwide,” the head of the IEA said.

“But how we make this transition needs on one hand domestic governments to move and make the right decisions, and at the same time we need some change support from the international financial architecture,” Birol added.

Despite its renewable and low-carbon push, India continues to bet big on coal, and the share of coal in total primary energy consumed has been broadly stable around 56 percent in recent years, according to BP’s Energy Outlook 2020.

In the energy mix in India, coal accounts for 70 percent, while the country is expected to be the biggest driver of global energy demand over the next 20 years as its population continues to increase fast and affluence spreads, the IEA said in a report last month. This growth in energy consumption will provide opportunities for renewable energy developers as the country needs “to add a power system the size of the European Union to what it has now,” while reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and solid biomass, the IEA said.  

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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