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India’s wicked problem: how to loosen its grip on coal while not abandoning the millions who depend on it

Anupam Nath/AP

India’s wicked problem: how to loosen its grip on coal while not abandoning the millions who depend on it

Anupam Nath/AP

India’s wicked problem: how to loosen its grip on coal while not abandoning the millions who depend on it

Anupam Nath/AP

India’s wicked problem: how to loosen its grip on coal while not abandoning the millions who depend on it

Anupam Nath/AP

India must step away from coal while maintaining economic growth and not leaving millions of people in coal-mining regions worse off.

Anupam Nath/AP

Vigya Sharma, The University of Queensland

India is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its transition to a low-carbon economy is crucial to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. But unfortunately, the nation is still clinging firmly to coal.

Our new research considered this problem, drawing on a case study in the Angul district, India’s largest coal reserve in the eastern state of Odisha.

We found three main factors slowing the energy transition: strong political and community support for coal, a lack of alternative economic activities, and deep ties between coal and other industries such as rail.

India must step away from coal, while maintaining economic growth and not leaving millions of people in coal-mining regions worse off. Our research probes this wicked problem in detail and suggests ways forward.

people carry baskets filled with coal

India’s energy transition must ensure those living in poverty are not left behind. Shutterstock

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