Jairam Ramesh calls for balance between coal mining and protecting forests

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New Delhi, Jan 8 (ANI): Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh met Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal here on Thursday amidst concerns over global warming and carbon emission.

"We are meeting regularly in order to ensure that environmental and forest issues relating to coal mining are resolved satisfactorily. We have to double our coal production over the next 7-8 years. Coal will continue to be the mainstay of our energy sector, of our energy economy. Most of our coal reserves are in the forest areas. So we have to strike a balance between protecting our forests and increasing coal production," said Ramesh.

India has 10 percent of the world's coal reserves, the biggest after the United States, Russia and China and thermal electricity accounts for about two-thirds of Indian power generation and includes generation using coal, gas and liquid fuel.

India also imports substantial superior quality coal and its imports have grown rapidly from almost zero five years ago to an estimated 70 million tonnes in the current fiscal year ending March 2010.

The share of coal-fired plants in India's generation capacity will rise to 57 percent by March 2012 from the current 53.3 percent or 80,284 megawatts.

Reducing emissions while satiating its rising demands for fossil fuels would be key to India's commitment to meet climate change targets.

The United Nations-led climate change summit at Copenhangen last month concluded with an agreement to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times, but did not layout how to achieve that. (ANI)

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