October 4, 2022

Great Indian Mutiny

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Excessive heat restricts India’s energy system | Climate and environment

The Intense heat And continued for weeks India This has pushed a significant portion of the world’s second-most populous country’s citizens to the limit. It also controls its power structure, which still produces about 70% of its electricity from coal. During the months of March and April, the average temperature recorded for the last 122 years. In addition, May began with a heat wave, which raised thermometers above 45 degrees and led to higher temperature-related deaths across the country; In the western state of Maharashtra alone, 25 deaths have been confirmed by the health department due to the heat wave that hit practically the whole of India till the beginning of this week, except neighboring Pakistan. Temperatures eased as of Tuesday due to rain and storms.

In a country of about 1.4 billion people, the recorded temperature has triggered a massive landslide, adding more fuel to the sense of disaster that people feel. In the capital, New Delhi, the city’s largest landfill has been on fire for at least a week, exacerbating the situation. Air quality A city that has always been number one in the world in terms of air pollution.

Although the daytime temperature in many northern states is around 46 degrees Celsius, the rise in electricity demand has not been met, leading to a real decline in the power sector. Of the 173 thermal power plants in the country, 108 have the lowest coal reserves, according to official figures.

Fire at Balswa Garbage Depot one summer day in New Delhi.Adnan Abidi (Reuters)

India is reducing its share of coal Mix Since 2015, step Data from the International Energy Agency. In addition, the government has launched a program to reduce the import of this fossil fuel. But the supply crisis, coupled with the intense heat of recent weeks, pushed power consumption to record levels in April, creating the worst energy crisis in at least six years. The government has asked public and private companies to increase coal imports in the coming weeks and as summer approaches, Reuters reported. India is the second largest importer of coal in the world, and increasing its purchases will have an impact on prices across the planet.

Coal is currently the main liability Greenhouse gases make the planet warmer. The climate crisis triggered by these gases and the fossil fuels that produce them is increasing the average planetary temperature and the frequency and intensity of the heat waves that hit India and Pakistan. Recent IPCC Report (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

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To cope with the power outage, hundreds of passenger trains have been canceled, giving priority to freight trains carrying coal to power plants. Only 10% of Indians have fans and air conditioners, which means millions of people have no way to cope with the cold and heat stroke. Further supply shortages have made it impossible for even those who own these refrigeration systems to use them. Juan Antonio Añel, a professor of geophysics at the University of Vigo in Ourense, said: According to him, the episode “draws attention to the dependence” India has on coal.

At the UN General Assembly in Glasgow, Scotland last November. India was one of the first countries to soften the anti-coal message in its final declaration. It and other developing countries’ fears focus on the fact that efforts against global climate change will slow the growth of its economy and the well-being of its population. They argue that rich countries have been based on fossil fuels such as coal for decades and that they are the main cause of the current global warming.

A boy soaks in a barrel in New Delhi.
A boy soaks in a barrel in New Delhi.Xavier Galliana (AFP)

But this does not mean that India does not plan to abandon coal. According to a recent study by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEA) the policies of the Indian government will lead to a gradual shift of coal to other sources, such as solar, even though it is a country. World energy demand is expected to grow exponentially over the next two decades. According to the IEA, 30% of electricity will come from coal in 2040 and 70% today. At the same time, the share of sunlight will increase from 4% to more than 30% by 2040.

The reason for climate change

Every time heat waves like the one reported in India and Pakistan are reported, the same question comes up again and again: Is climate change behind this phenomenon? It has already been proven that the intensity and intensity of heat waves have increased due to man-made climate change since the fifties of the last century. Last week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) argued that “extreme heat in India and Pakistan is the only cause of climate change.” But it also coincides with this climate crisis, in which these events are “frequent and intense and begin much earlier than in the past.”

At the moment, a team of scientists is working to establish the extent of the cause of this phenomenon to global warming. Basically, they are trying to calculate how much of a chapter like what India and Pakistan have experienced is possible without climate change. Mariam Zacharia and Friedrich Otto of Imperial College London are now part of a panel of experts involved in the evaluation. In the preliminary study, Zakaria said that if not for the current climate change process, India would experience a period of high temperatures once in 50 years at this time of year. “But This is now a very common occurrence: we can expect temperatures once every four yearsZechariah adds. Otto, for his part, recalled that “heat waves will continue to be hot and dangerous in India and elsewhere” until humanity manages to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to practically zero..

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