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UN chief urges India to move away from coal, invest in renewable energy

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on August 28, 2020

António Guterres, UN Secretary General

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has urged the Indian government to phase out coal and to increase its dependence on renewable energy.

Guterres delivered the Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture speech online at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

In his speech, he stated that India has the potential to become a business hub to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring affordable and clean energy for all.

“India can be the business hub to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7,” the UN Chief said.

“India can become a true global superpower in the fight against climate change, if it speeds up its shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” he said.

The UN chief further said that large investors across the globe were moving away from coal.

“In India, 50 per cent of coal will be uncompetitive in 2022, reaching 85 per cent by 2025. This is why the world’s largest investors are increasingly abandoning coal,” he said.

He also emphasised the importance of investing in solar power.

“The drivers are poverty alleviation and universal energy access – two of India’s top priorities. Scaling up clean energy, particularly solar, is the recipe for solving both,” he said.

Stating the impact of fossil fuels on life expectancy and the environment in general, Guterres said renewable energy also had the potential to create more jobs and provide better access to electricity.

“Investments in renewable energy, clean transport and energy efficiency during the recovery from the pandemic could extend electricity access to 270 million people worldwide – fully a third of the people that currently lack it,” he said.

“These same investments could help create 9 million jobs annually over the next three years,” he said.

“India has also made significant progress towards universal access to electricity. Yet, despite an access rate of 95 per cent, 64 million Indians are still without access today. There is still work to do, and opportunities to be grasped,” he added.

Published on August 28, 2020

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