Climate Weekly: Green India? A reality check

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The Rattan India coal plant in Amravati, Maharashtra (Pic: Rattan India)

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Has solar won the competition with coal in India? Not yet.

Despite record low solar power prices and a hiatus in coal plant construction, the dirtiest fossil fuel has room for growth.

Running underused coal power stations more of the time is still cheaper than adding solar panels, explains former Coal India chairman Partha Bhattacharya. It could create 250 million tonnes more demand each year, Aditi Roy Ghatak reports.

The government’s enthusiasm for clean energy seems to have waned. A $25 billion pot of coal tax revenue earmarked for climate spending has been diverted to a completely unrelated policy, news site Scroll.in revealed.

And a bold target to sell 100% electric vehicles by 2030 – ten years before the UK and France – faces major hurdles, writes Darryl D’Monte. Public charging infrastructure needs to get a lot better if EVs are to take off.

Kenya’s food crisis

Maize farmers in Kenya’s Rift Valley are in a double bind, reports Wesley Langat. Drought has rendered once-productive farms barren, while the price of food soars.

Annual food inflation stood at 18.6% in March, writes Mantoe Phakathi. With less than two weeks until a general election, president Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration is under pressure for its handling of the crisis.

Opposition candidates say the government worsened the situation by allowing maize exports to continue despite drought warnings. The incumbents are trying to retain public support with a $58 million subsidy on maize flour.

Climate conversations

‘Himalayan viagra’

In the mountains of Nepal, a fungus used in Chinese medicine as an aphrodisiac is in decline, partly as a result of climate change. It is a blow for villagers, who relied on the lucrative harvest to get them through the year, Sameer Pokhrel reports.

Adani mine curveball

In the will-they-won’t-they saga of Indian conglomerate Adani’s planned mega coal mine in Australia, here is an unexpected twist.

The Australian government’s strongest champion of the mine, resources minister Matt Canavan, resigned from cabinet after discovering his mother had registered him as an Italian citizen. That ran foul of a rule that Australian parliamentarians cannot hold dual citizenship. Two Green party senators were also caught out.

Read more on: Climate Politics