Bad news for Al Gore, great news for millions of impoverished Indians:
India’s Tata Power group just gained important financial backing from the International Finance Corporation, a branch of the World Bank, for its planned $4 billion, 4-billion watt “Ultra Mega” coal-burning power plant complex in Gujarat state.
The I.F.C., along with the Asian Development Bank, Korea, and other backers, sees the need to bring electricity to one of the world’s poorest regions as more pressing than limiting carbon dioxide from fuel burning. The plants will emit about 23 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to the I.F.C., but using technology that is 40 percent more efficient at turning coal into kilowatt-hours than the average for India.
It sounds like a lot of carbon, it's not.
Forest fires in this country alone produce more than 10 times as much carbon every year, and each American produces about 22 tons of carbon annually (maybe more if you're shuttling back and forth to Norway to pick up Nobel prizes).
New York Times global warming reporter Andrew Revkin lays it out pretty well:
"The decision powerfully illustrates one of the most inconvenient facets of the world’s intertwined climate and energy challenges — that more than two billion people still lack any viable energy choices, let alone green ones."
Those people also don't have cars, but the same company behind this power plant is working to remedy that with the Nano, a $2,500 car that was debuted earlier this year.