• Coal Mining Threatens India's Bengal Tigers

    By AFOP, August 5th 2012

    In a new report published by Greenpeace, the environmental organisation has warned that coal mining for electricity generation is the biggest threat facing Royal Bengal tigers in India. Bengal tiger populations in India are currently estimated to be between 1,520-1909, a shockingly low number compared with the 100,000 Bengal tigers that roamed across India at the turn of the 19th century.

    India’s fast-growing economy has seen a sharp increase in coal power usage over the last several years, with 80% of the countries electricity being supplied by coal power plants. Until recently, the country had been importing large amounts of coal from abroad, which was driving the costs of electricity up. So the government resolved to increasing domestic coal production so as to drive costs down in order to make electricity cheaper for consumers.

    Using a Geographical Information System (GIS), Greenpeace analysed 13, out of 40, of India’s biggest coal fields and estimated that coal mining could destroy 1.1 million hectares of vital tiger, leopard and elephant forest habitat. Greenpeace argues that mining in the Bengal tigers primary forest habitat with not only disrupt t the animals main living and hunting environment, but it will also disable some of the wildlife corridors linking key wildlife reserves.

    Greenpeace has called for a moratorium on forest clearances for coal mining purposes and is calling for the Indian government to reduce its dependence on coal, investing in renewable energy.

    A research team from Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative concluded in April 2012 that India has enough wind energy potential to greatly transform India’s future power usage into renewable energy, The International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2011 report, found that 75% of the Indian population currently has access to electricity, with 288.8 million people having no access to electricity. With India’s developing economy, electricity consumption is expected to grow at an average rate of 3.3% per year until 2035, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

    If India does not take urgent action to protect key wildlife habitats by investing in renewable energy, many of India’s endangered species may face extinction in just a few generations.

    Greenpeace- Coal mining poses threat to India's Royal Bengal tiger

    (CC) Image by Koshy Koshy

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