Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office has proposed waiving a tax on coal to help finance pollution-curbing equipment, according to documents, but the move would also make coal more competitive in price with solar and wind energy. Mr. Modi’s office has proposed waiving the carbon tax of ₹400 per tonne that was levied on the production and import of coal, according to the documents. The documents say the savings would improve the financial health of utilities and distribution companies, and help power producers to install pollution-curbing equipment. The PMO and the Power Ministry did not respond to requests seeking comment on the proposal.
 
What
  1. Despite struggling with some of the world’s worst air pollution levels, India has already pushed back a deadline to cut emission levels to up to 2022.
  2. Over half of India’s coal-fired plants are already set to miss a phased deadline starting December 2019 to cut emissions of sulphur oxides, which have been proven to contribute to lung disease.
  3. The proposal is a big win for India’s coal industry, which has lobbied for government help, citing high debt levels and burgeoning payment dues from government-owned power distribution companies. 
  4. Distribution companies owed power producers more than $11 billion in dues as of October, according to government data.
Flashback
  1. A carbon tax is a fee imposed on the burning of carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, gas). More to the point: a carbon tax is the core policy for reducing and eventually eliminating the use of fossil fuels whose combustion is destabilizing and destroying our climate.
  2. A carbon tax is a way — the only way, really — to have users of carbon fuels pay for the climate damage caused by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 
  3. If set high enough, it becomes a powerful monetary disincentive that motivates switches to clean energy across the economy, simply by making it more economically rewarding to move to non-carbon fuels and energy efficiency.

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