by Kazi Tafsin
The top notches of the coal producer countries standing in Asia are China, India & Indonesia; as IEA apprised.
Though they are also being the most vulnerable one for last 50 years but still the affection remains same for coal mining every time at national level resource management policy and still the dissembling excuse turns by saying that, "Coal is cheaper."
On the other hand, NGO workers and environmental scientists are working on to negotiate at different levels with their possible data collection and so on.
But the question here is that, where does the forever known vacuity stands, for which the awareness remains at the same poor level?
At first, it is a real question that, are the coal-fired power plant projects really 'cheap' or not.
There is no doubt that, coal-fired power plants and mining are doing environmental imbalances become of the high emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOX), lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, boron & etc. These harmful chemicals are significantly impacting on lungs, brain, heart, liver, kidneys, stomach and intestines.
The water required for a coal-based power plant is about 150 Liters per unit of electricity is very high compared to the domestic requirement of water of a big city. (Pokale 2012) So, it is true that, coal fired power plants are really 'cheap', only if the inseparable environmental damages and vulnerable public health issues are being overlooked.
As a result, when those emerging causations are becoming clear as bells to those several intergovernmental levels of the countries mentioned before, these unrighteous policies are making their own way out by shifting the coal-fired power plant project to another third world countries of Asia.
As like the ADB proposed 900$ million for Jamshoro power generation station in Pakistan where the plants will use imported coal from China and besides of it, Gandhi Power Park of Baluchistan is also depended on imported coal.
Bangladesh is also reflecting the same depiction of these events on the proposed Rampal and Phulbaria coal-fired power plant projects; where both of these projects will import coal sequentially from India and Indonesia.
ADB and Asian energy plan has also been playing different roles here. ADB has invested $3 billion on coal projects from 2007 to 2014, as Justin Guay noted in a Huffpost article on Aug 17, 2014.
The tricky part about shifting coal power plant is that, by this approach coal exporters can reduce national CO2 emission rate and still can buy significant amounts of electricity from their contracted third world countries by paying a least amount of money.
Here, all of the stories are not the same, where Sri Lanka is an exception. On 2006, India & Sri Lanka jointly proposed 500 MW of Sampur Power Station which agreement was canceled after 10 years of protesting.
It should also be stated that, Indexmundi (2017), China, Japan, India, Korea, Taiwan are the top 5 coal exporting countries of the world.
Apart from this, finally, the phantasm of awareness is always roaming the same wicked cycle because of the lacking of local level of data. This means that, most of the NGO's and environment related activist groups are still depending on the global databases. As an example, in order to raising the awareness of climate change of the rural area in Bangladesh the example of the endangered death rate of polar bear in Antarctica will not help much.
Similarly, most of the people don’t feel connected to the information that how much the sea level has raised on behalf of climate change and CO2 emission for the last 20 years.
In 2005, Bangladesh released their first document named "The National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)" and the different development projects were run by accepting NAPA's reductionist global data.
"Now it is vividly recognized that NAPA's action plan is a total failure...NGOs and development workers often get frustrated because those global data were totally unrelated to the everyday life of the people for whom the NGO's working for.” (Khaled 2012)
Though environmental damages and climate change due to coal based power projects are global issues but they have different effects on the different parts of the world, which are not incorporated academically most of the times.
The problem is that, from the very first time there was a real pressure that, climate change should be understood only by universalistic-scientific approach. And this particular approach ensued avoidance of area-wise qualitative data. As a result, mass people cumulatively think that climate change is only a technical issue or can be solved only by higher end technological/solar tools. But most of the time, climate change is mainly depended on resource management, where the idea of ‘resource’ is very culture specific.
Resource management also depends on agro-ecological methods of food production, eco-friendliness of food habits, demographic structures, population control; which should also be culturally understood. As an example of culture specific resource management, it can be stated that, people of the Madhya Pradesh of India doesn’t take their huge amount of fish resources as a food. (Khaled 2012)
So pragmatically, the use of term 'Global' in the context of resources are sometimes unconsciously presaging the context-wise different socio-cultural analysis, which becomes threatening for effective policies.
In a nut shell, to raise awareness about climate change among mass people locality-wise different ethnographic data and long term surveillance should also be incorporated along with the international policies against CO2 emission and unfavorable climate change. Otherwise, the policies undertaken for these issues will be unpropitious to serve their purpose accordingly.
Pokale, W.K. 2012. “Effects of Thermal Power Plant on Environment.” Scientific Reviews & Chemical Communications: 2(3): 212-215
Khaled, Ibrahim. 2012. “Science & the Global Politics Of Climate Change.” Nrvijnana Patrika: 17: 35,38
Kazi Tafsin is a fellow at Center for Bangladesh Studies (CBS) and studying at Department of Anthropology, Jahangirnagar University.
BDST: 1234 HRS, AUG 5, 2017