Dr. Ajay Mathur, one of the senior negotiators from the Indian delegation at the Climate Conference in Paris, has stated that his country will reduce the use of coal if there is financial support to invest in renewable energy sources.
The Indian government has already shown its commitment to renewable resources; India and France are leading the International Solar Alliance, which aims to get solar-rich countries to develop better solar technologies. At the same time, India is still planning to heavily invest in coal and mining as it tries to bring electricity to deprived areas. It is believed that 300 million people (one quarter of the country’s population) have no access to electrical power.
In the Paris negotiations, the Indian government has kept a hard line on its need for coal. "We are increasing our renewable targets tenfold in the next 15 years, but we will require coal because it is the need of the hour for my people to grow," Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told BBC News.
India is expected to become the biggest importer of coal by 2020. To satisfy the demand, a new mine would have to be open every month for the next four years. Dr. Mathur affirms that if there were renewables more affordable, though, India would favor that over coal.
"We are very clear that solar and wind is our first commitment, hydro and nuclear all of these non-carbon sources are what we will develop to the largest extent we can," Dr. Mathur told the media. "What cannot be met by these will be met by coal."
He added: "We look forward to an agreement that enables financial support from the countries that have developed on the backs of cheap energy, to those who have to meet their energy with more expensive but low carbon energy”
The Paris Climate Conference will continue until December 11.