No Reasons to Compromise on National Interests: Indian Energy Sector in the Era of Climate Change and Agricultural Excellency

Proponents of climate alarmism have long claimed that developing countries like India will be the worst affected by climate change and that they need to immediately switch to emission friendly energy sources.

But the transition to renewables is not easy and costs the government dearly. Is India pressed against the wall on climate change and agriculture? How is our climate doing on the agricultural front and how much time do we have to pull the trigger on climate?

With a population of 1.3 billion people and millions emigrating out of the country every year, India’s contribution to the global economy is significant.

Traditionally agrarian, India has become increasingly dependent on its growing industrial sector.  The country’s energy sector serves as the backbone of its industries, and it derives 72 percent (2014) of its electricity from coal-plants.

That shouldn’t be a surprise, given India’s abundant coal reserves, which guarantee inexpensive and affordableelectricity to a nation where poverty is still rampant. The country is also keen on building new nuclear and hydroelectric plants.

In recent years, however, India has been heckled by the United Nations and other global institutions to reduce its dependence on coal and install more expensive—and unreliable—wind and solar energy sources.

The reason? Climate change!

In India, experts predicted an agricultural nightmare resulting from CO2-induced climate change. However, a closer inspection reveals something very different.

North and central India have had better rainfall in the past five decades than the early 20th century. Record highs in Indian cities exhibit no significant increase in the past two decades. 

The country had numerous record highs in the year 2016 due to the super-El Niño phenomenon (warming of the tropical Pacific, which in turn warms air that circulates globally), which pushed temperature upwards. 

Since then, temperature has largely remained close to the historical averages. The everyday highs during the early months of 2018 in southern India showed no marked increase from their historical average.

And it is not just India’s weather phenomena that contradict the warming mantra. 

The agricultural sector has produced record crop output in the last three years—dealing a lethal blow to the alarmist narrative of agricultural collapse. 

The agricultural output—despite the drought induced farmer stress and pricing issues—is a good overall indicator of the food security of the country. It won’t be long before more advanced agricultural technologies—like the drip irrigation introduction in the past—will be utilized in high stress areas.

In light of this, there is no need to panic about the collapse of our agricultural system. The state of agriculture and the pressure from climate groups should not pressurize us into adopting unfriendly energy policies.

India should not be forced to abandon its coal when its agricultural sector is actually benefitting from the climatic conditions and there has been no warming-induced increase in extreme weather events. 

India’s industrial sector provides the right balance for a country that was traditionally agrarian. Policies advocated by climate alarmists put both the agricultural and the industrial sectors in danger.Developing countries like India should adopt a balanced approach to their energy sector and put their national interests ahead of foreign interests.

Vijay Jayaraj

Vijay Jayaraj is a consultant with IRADe New Delhi and specializes in Environmental issues, especially climate change and its impact on ecosystem. He has a Masters from University of East Anglia, UK and has worked as a Researcher at University of British Columbia, Canada.

The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.

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