NEW DELHI: Coal reserves in many parts of the country will be over in next 2-3 decades and India needs to plan for coal-dependent regions that will face major economic and social disruptions, according to a new report.
International Forum for Environment, Sustainability & Technology (iFOREST), a New Delhi-based environmental non-profit, has published the first on-ground study to understand what ‘Just Transition’ means for India.
The study details the risks and opportunities of coal phase-out and proposes a policy and planning framework for just transition, based on an in-depth survey of Ramgarh district of Jharkhand, a top coal-producing district.
Jharkhand is the country’s third largest coal producer Speaking at the occasion of the book launch, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said:
“We are mindful that coal will reduce over time, and therefore, we have to plan for a post coal future. As Jharkhand is rich in other natural resources, we are diversifying our economy and promoting tourism, forestry, agro-based industries, and the service sectors.”
Speaking at the event, Chandra Bhushan, iFOREST president & CEO, said: “Just Transition is an imperative for India as we have only 20-30 years to phase-out coal-based power to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change. This is a very short time to transform coal mining areas and coal-dependent industries. If we do not start planning for a post-coal future now, our coal-dependent regions will face major economic and social disruptions in the coming years.”
Just Transition was included in the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 to ensure that the workers and the local communities dependent on fossil fuels like coal do not suffer due to the phaseout of coal to meet the climate change goals.
As the iFOREST study points out, in Jharkhand, 50% of mines are closed, and half of the operational mines are unprofitable.
Most of the mines have been closed without proper mine closure and plans for the mining areas’ socio-economic transition.