Natural gas power is operating at only 20% of capacity in India, restricted by scare natural gas supplies, CarbonBrief observes in a newly published analysis. To meet electricity needs unfilled by natural gas, India continues to build more coal power plants.
India has more than doubled its coal power capacity since 2007, which is largely responsible for a doubling of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions since 2007. As the world’s fourth largest carbon dioxide emitter and second most populous nation, the means by which India will provide electricity to a growing number of its citizens will have a significant impact on global carbon dioxide emissions. Because rapidly developing nations like India do not have access to affordable, abundant energy sources other than coal power, global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise even as emissions decline in most western democracies, including the United States.
As India’s lead climate negotiator acknowledged at the 2015 Paris climate meetings, wind and solar power are too expensive and fickle to be the primary source of electricity in India and other Third World nations. Abundant, inexpensive coal power continues to lead the way in new power generation in developing nations.
A promising path forward is natural gas imports. During the past decade, natural gas power has become less expensive in the United States than coal power. As a result, natural gas power has replaced coal as America’s primary power source, with electricity prices and carbon dioxide emissions declining as a result.
U.S. natural gas exports are bottlenecked by the existence of a single operating natural gas export facility. During recent years, federal, state, and local policymakers have appeased the environmental far left by blocking proposals to build more natural gas export facilities. Among the negative results has been nations like India continuing to rely on coal power, often supplied by China and America’s economic competitors, which is making their local air unbreathable and their carbon dioxide emissions continue to grow.
American policymakers seeking to benefit the global environment as well as the American economy will begin encouraging rather than obstructing American natural gas production and natural gas exports.