A Washington Post article quotes Brookings India scholar Rahul Tongia on how the world’s hunger for cheap electricity is complicating efforts to combat climate change.
Of the world’s 1.3 billion people who live without access to power, a quarter — about 300 million — live in rural India in states such as Bihar. Nighttime satellite images of the sprawling subcontinent show the story: Vast swaths of the country still lie in darkness.
India, the third-largest emitter of greenhouses gases after China and the United States, has taken steps to address climate change in advance of the global talks in Paris this year — pledging a steep increase in renewable energy by 2030.
But India’s leaders say that the huge challenge of extending electric service to its citizens means a hard reality — that the country must continue to increase its fossil fuel consumption, at least in the near term, on a path that could mean a threefold increase in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030, according to some estimates.
Estimates show that India’s power woes cost the economy anywhere from 1 to 3 percent of gross domestic product — an impediment to Modi’s hopes to expand the economy and make the country more hospitable to manufacturing, according to Dr Tongia.’
Download Dr Tongia’s book on Making Renewable Power Sustainable in India.
Read Dr Tongia’s Discussion Note: Examining challenges of access and electrification in India.