ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Price of Renewable Energy

State of Renewable Energy in India: A Citizen's Report by Chandra Bhushan, Nayanjyoti Goswami, Aruna Kumarankandath, Kanchan Kumar Agrawal and Joel Kumar, New Delhi: Centre for Science and Environment, 2014; pp 198, Rs 690.

The climate change debate and green enthusiasm have given a great impetus to renewable energy worldwide. Although India was hardly a culprit in excessive greenhouse gas emissions, with low per capita emissions of CO2 of only 1.2 tonnes in 2010, compared to 4.6 tonnes for China and 19.1 tonnes for the United States (US). In absolute terms, India’s emission were noticeable at 1,000 million tonnes, compared to 6,200 tonnes for China and 5,600 tonnes for the US. The erstwhile high gross domestic product (GDP) growth of China and India—during the global downturn—and the resulting implications for energy consumption and contribution to global warming have brought international pressure on China and India to reduce non-renewable energy consumption by increasing the portfolio of renewable energy along with energy conservation.

China has embarrassed the West by taking the money available from Western Europe under the clean development mechanism, and used it to subsidise development of low-cost solar cells, outcompeting the US. While India has been relatively slow and followed Western diktat and increased the portfolio of renewable energy at the cost of large hydroelectricity—which has been attenuated by environmental opposition—and domestic coal, both of which are available in plenty, but forbidden to develop. It is in this context, the book by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is relevant.

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