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India And China Look To Avoid Setting Deadline For Fossil Fuels Phase-Out

The biggest developing economies and largest coal consumers, India and China, are seeking a G20 pledge that would leave countries to decide on “multiple energy pathways” to reduce emissions instead of setting a firm deadline for phasing out the use of fossil fuels, Indian government officials have told Reuters.

India, currently presiding over G20, has proposed to include “multiple energy pathways” in a press statement expected to be released at the group’s summit in September. China, as well as South Africa, has backed the Indian proposal. At a meeting of the 2nd Energy Transitions Working Group (ETWG) in India last month, India opposed the setting of a firm deadline to phase out the use of coal, according to Reuters’ sources.

“A dominant view was seen emerging on every country to have individual pathways to achieve their national commitments and endowments,” one of the sources who attended the meeting told Reuters.

India will see its power generation from coal increase in the coming year as authorities plan to have coal-fired units maximize electricity production from imported coal to meet rising demand. The government of India, where coal still generates around 70% of the country’s electricity, plans to use an emergency law to have more coal-fired power generation this summer, expecting record demand, government sources told Reuters early this year.

India’s coal minister said at the end of 2022 that the country has no intention of ditching coal from its energy mix any time soon. Addressing a parliamentary committee, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said that coal would continue to play an important role in India until at least 2040, referring to the fuel as an affordable energy source for which demand has yet to peak in India.  

China, for its part, is building or planning to build some 366 GW in new coal generation capacity, accounting for some 68% of global planned new coal capacity as of 2022.

This is according to a new report by climate think tank Global Energy Monitor, which also found that China accounted for more than half of the new global coal generation capacity that came online last year.  

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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