CIL’s CO2 emission accounted for 0.65% of India’s total; green cover 116% of target

  • With CIL’s opencast output at 572 MTs, during FY20, a little over 17 MTs of CO2 equivalent was emitted out of CIL’s coal mining operations

  • India’s total CO2 emission was at 2,616 MTs, according to data sourced from US-based Global Carbon Project: Carbon Di-Oxide Information Analysis Centre

New Delhi: As the country’s largest coal producer and supplier, Coal India Limited (CIL) accounted for only 0.65 percent of India’s total carbon-di-oxide (CO2) emission of 2,616 Million Tonnes (MTs) during 2019-20, said the state-run coal miner in an official statement on Wednesday citing data sourced from US-based Global Carbon Project: Carbon Di-Oxide Information Analysis Centre. A back-of-the-envelope calculation estimates 30 Kg of CO2 emission for every tonne of coal produced. With CIL’s opencast output at 572 MTs, during FY20, a little over 17 MTs of CO2 equivalent was emitted out of CIL’s coal mining operations, compared to the country’s total of 2,616 MTs, said CIL. 

“Pollution arising out of coal mining operations is not much compared to burning of the fossil fuel, from where major emissions emanate,” said Coal India.

What is CIL doing to offset CO2 emission?

“Mining is a conflict with nature which impacts the environment to a certain degree. The effort is to cap it to the minimum. We are committed to fulfilling our part in the reduction of GHG emissions in the nationally determined contributions (NDC) submitted to the UN. Offsetting the carbon footprint to a bare low is a continuous activity for us,” said a senior executive of CIL.

To balance the CO2 emission, CIL has taken up large scale plantation in its mining areas where the green cover increased to 862 hectares, in FY21. This is 116 percent achievement of the targetted 739 hectares and 6 percent more compared to 813 hectares of 2019-20. So far, CIL has created 2.4 hectares of plantation for every one hectare of land used for mining. For the ongoing fiscal the company is targetting plantation over 1,300 hectares, a jump of more than 50 percent compared to FY21. 

In FY21, 52 of CIL OCPs reclaimed 64% of total excavated area

CIL evaluates the success of its land reclamation through satellite surveillance. At least 52 opencast projects, each, producing more than 5 Million Cubic Metres of coal and overburden combined per annum, are monitored every year. Projects below that mark are monitored once every three years. 

For FY21, the 52 OCPs reclaimed close to 64 percent of the total excavated area, limiting the mining area to 36 percent. For FY22, CIL has drawn up plans to add 26 more OCP projects that produce 5 MCuM of coal and OB under the ambit of annual satellite surveillance, raising the total to 78. 

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Over the last four financial years, CIL has planted around 78 lakh saplings with a survival rate of 85 percent spread over 3,212 hectares, under the afforestation programme. Till date, plantation has been done over a total area of 40,000 hectares. The company is aiming for a further 10,000 hectares of afforestation till 2030 which translates into the removal of 5 Lakh Tonnes of CO2, from the atmosphere, per hectare by then. 

Pursuing environment-friendly coal transportation, the company is focusing more on non-road mode movement. During FY21, non-road coal transportation accounted for 77 percent of total supplies.

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