Coal will continue to be India's chief source of power beyond 2047 because of the high "social costs of renewable". Explain the so called "Carbon Imperialism" in the light of this statement.

Published: December 30, 2017

Carbon Imperialism is the new form of imperialism spreading across the globe. Imperialism is when a country selfishly harms another country and benefits out of it. Carbon imperialism in the modern era is how the western developed countries are forcing the poor and developing countries to adapt renewable resources rather than coal for their energy uses.
The reasons behind the developed countries telling the developing nations to use sources other than coal which is the cheapest available resource can be due to the following reasons: 

  • To promote the nuclear fuel and nuclear technology of the developed nations
  • To promote shale gas of West over crude oil of the Middle East 

Global warming is a scenario which happened over centuries. The developed nations played a key role in climate change over the years. Now, they are coming up with treaties and agreements which force the developing and poor nations to reduce the use of coal and other fossil fuels. Coal is the cheapest available resource and many developing countries rely on it for industrial purposes. A limitation on coal use is a direct limitation on the country’s growth. 
In the Indian scenario, the country stood as the third largest producer of coal in 2017. Coal is the only readily and abundantly available source of energy in the country. Till date, Indians worked on improving techniques of coal production and storage. When it finally reached its peak in the coal front, suggesting to downsize is an inefficient move.
Stating the same, the chief economic advisor of the nation Aravind Subramanian mooted that coal will remain the chief source of energy beyond 2047 for India’s development needs.  He stated that even though cleaner energy sources have less impact on environment, they have high hidden costs adversely affecting the country’s economy. He called for set up of an international coal alliance among the developing nations to develop techniques which makes coal a sustainable and clean yet cheap source of energy.
The hidden costs include the import costs, strategic partnerships which are biased to favour the west, reduced capacity of the already established thermal power plants. It also majorly affects the government’s exchequer- the subsidies promised for adaption of renewables, burden of building the required infrastructure for new kind of energy storage and utilisation.
India aims to mix up to 40% of renewable energy in its energy resources by 2030 according to the contribution set for Paris Agreement. The carbon imperialism shouldn’t affect the decision making of the energy future of the country. Working towards making cleaner coal is the right move for the country rather than phasing out the use of coal on the whole. 

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