Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2012

Not (yet) an Energy Revolution. India between Climate Change Mitigation and Development Imperatives

Lidia Puka

October 2011

The Polish Institute of International Affairs


India is facing a tough balancing act in trying to reconcile the need to sustain economic growth with an ambitious plan to implement a development strategy that would deprioritize fossil fuels as the principal source of energy. Over the past few years, India seems to have grown more aware of the challenges associated with climate change—mitigation goals feature more prominently in official pronouncements, and the government invests more resources in the policies aimed at gradual de-carbonization of India’s energy mix. Still, immediate challenges to the country’s development remain significant. Most notable are shortages of energy supplies to large swaths of the population, coupled with relative abundance of coal—a cornerstone of electricity generation—as well as difficulties with broadening of the use of alternative energy sources. As a result, India is particularly susceptible to apply quick fixes, rather than embark upon a genuine energy revolution.