Coal India chairman wants its operations to be net zero in 3-4 years

Workers unload coal from a supply truck at a yard on the outskirts of Ahmedabad
Workers unload coal from a supply truck at a yard on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India October 12, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

NEW DELHI, March 7 (Reuters) - Coal India's (COAL.NS) operations aim to become net zero in three to four years, its chairman said, although this does not extend to emissions from burning coal it produces.

Renewable energy, greater internal energy efficiency and cleaner transport are expected to contribute to Coal India's net zero target, Pramod Agrawal, chairman of the world's largest miner of coal by output, said on Monday.

Coal used to generate electricity is one of the most greenhouse-gas intensive fossil fuels and ending its use is a priority to meet goals to limit damaging climate change.

India has more than 170 coal-fired power stations, which together account for nearly three-quarters of electricity generation in the world's third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States.

The energy hungry country has pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2070.

"We plan that maybe in the next three to four years, we should become a net-zero company," Agrawal said in a presentation to the 15th Indian Coal Markets Conference.

Agrawal said coal users were bigger contributors to rising carbon emissions than Coal India itself, which he said was often unfairly blamed for emissions of its coal.

"If we want a system in which environmental protection happens, we have to see how we can utilise coal efficiently," he added.

India has pledged to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix from about 38% last year to 50% by 2030.

Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Alexander Smith

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Sudarshan currently reports on the evolving energy landscape in Asia, as the region tries to strike a balance between ensuring reliable electricity supply and fighting climate change. In his previous avatar, he reported on sanctions-era global trade, human rights violations, labor movements, environmental offences and natural disasters in India for six years. During his nine years as a Reuters correspondent, he has attempted to lend a global perspective to small-town issues. Contact: +91 9810393152