The Sociopolitical Dynamics of Coal Transition in India

Published date01 April 2020
DOI10.1177/0020881720912886
Date01 April 2020
Subject MatterResearch Articles
Research Article
1 Assistant Professor, Energy Studies Programme, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi, India.
2 Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan.
Corresponding author:
Nandakumar Janardhanan, Energy Studies Programme, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal
Nehru University, New Delhi, Delhi 110067, India.
E-mail: nanduj123@gmail.com
International Studies
57(2) 171–185, 2020
2020 Jawaharlal Nehru University
Reprints and permissions:
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DOI: 10.1177/0020881720912886
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The Sociopolitical
Dynamics of Coal
Transition in India
Nandakumar Janardhanan1
Kentaro Tamura2
Abstract
Energy transition has been gaining significant policy attention in India, especially
in the backdrop of the concerns about growing emissions from fossil fuels and
the need for cleaner energy services. However, this has been one of the strategic
dilemmas for the country. On the one hand, the increasing demand for fossil fuels
is prompting critical policy actions to minimize the energy-related emissions and
reduce the dependency on the same. On the other hand, the national economic
targets that demand high growth have been pivotal in pushing the energy demand
growth and have also been unable to shift away from the conventional energy mix.
The global debates on shifting away from environmentally damaging energy
sources have always paid greater focus on the coal sector. This is primarily due
to the fact that coal-fuelled power generation sector has been responsible for
the highest quantity of greenhouse gas emissions in many countries. Shifting
away from coal sector can have significant adverse sociopolitical impacts. The
workforce depending on the sector for mining and processing, as well as in
the other allied sectors can be affected by the falling demand for coal. On the
contrary, this article identifies that energy transition has not made any serious
dent on the workforce or communities that are traditionally dependent on coal
sector. Instead, the fall in employment witnessed is primarily due to the increasing
mechanization taking place for the past few decades. The article discusses coal
transition in the Indian context to present the arguments in this direction.

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