Energy, development and climate change

Authored by: Girish Sant , Ashwin Gambhir

Handbook of Climate Change and India

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9781849713580
eBook ISBN: 9780203153284
Adobe ISBN: 9781136521584

10.4324/9780203153284.ch21

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Abstract

The energy sector is central to the debate on climate change. While the sector is vital for development, its emissions are large and growing (WRI-CAIT, 2010). On the one hand, low cost mitigation options like efficiency improvement are insufficient to contain the growth of emissions. On the other hand, options with abundant potential like solar energy are expensive and can defeat the fundamental objective of adequate supply at an affordable price, and hence hamper development. The complexity of the situation is further exacerbated by an excessive dependence on low cost fossil fuels in India, with its limited domestic resources adding to the climate problem. For a rapidly developing country like India, energy policy is therefore a multi-criteria optimization process: it must balance the urgent priority of expanding access to low cost energy, with minimal local social and environmental impacts, while keeping in mind future constraints of energy security and the climate.

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