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Energy and Resources Institute: India's Coal Reserves "vastly overstated"

1 min. read

All the "cornucopians" out there -- people like the New York Times' John Tierney who believe that we've got unlimited fossil fuels, and therefore that there's no reason to conserve or switch to clean, renewable energy - might want to read this report about Indian coal reserves.  In its own words, the paper "demolishes the myth held by many that India has coal in plenty. In reality, the situation is just the opposite."

In fact, instead of the "extremely high figure of  "267.21 billion tonnes [of Indian coal reserves] that has created a false and risky notion that India is quite comfortably placed with over 100 years of domestic coal supply at its disposal," this study finds that India has "extractable coal reserves for the power sector" of just 14.78 billion tonnes. At current levels of production, the study estimates that these extractable reserves "will be exhausted in 45 years."

The bottom line of all this is simple: switching to a more realistic view of recoverable fossil fuel reserves in India - and most likely elsewhere as well -demolishes the "cornucopian" myth of fossil fuel resources as far as the eye can see. Even putting aside environmental, economic, national security, and other issues surrounding fossil fuel use, if fossil fuel reserves have been "vastly overstated" by their champions in and out of the dirty energy sector, then all their other assumptions crumble to (coal) dust as well. The question is, to what extent are we willing to bet our entire future on belief on the "cornucopian" myth?