It contributes to 66% of India’s electricity and also leads to 70,000 premature deaths every year. India’s tryst with coal has turned into a faustian choice that we find hard to wriggle out of, but the last few years have shed enough light on positive solutions that can break that bargain with coal. As the single biggest contributor to climate change, our dependence on this dirty fossil fuel for development has to end.
At 350.org, we are working on building a strong campaign against coal this year. From mining to power generation, the entire chain is responsible for impacting human health and causing ecological destruction. One of the active groups in the country on coal has kickstarted a campaign to halt indiscriminate coal mining. Greenpeace India has launched Junglistan (Forest land), a campaign to highlight the corrupt practices of the coal industry and the ill effects of their mining. A recent study indicated that over $ 193 billion worth of coal mines was lost by the Govt. by giving it away at cheap rates to private and public coal corporations. This loss does not include the forests, wildlife and livelihoods of forest communities destroyed by coal mining.
With the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) being hosted in the city of Hyderabad, India in October, the time is ripe to push the Prime Minister for a moratorium on further coal mining in the country till the coal scam is thoroughly investigated and a proper delineation of forest areas that cannot be mined is made. With the eyes of the world on India and its PM to stand up for the principles of forest conservation, we will present this important demand to him to act upon immediately.
At 350, we are mobilizing people around this issue in India for a big day of action in November. We will soon share a more detailed update.