Entangling carbon lock-in: India’s coal constituency
This article investigates how energy security in the Anthropocene is entangled in diffuse ways with materiality. In particular we examine the social-material entanglement of humans and coal in India and how coal manifests itself differently across social life in the country. Focusing on a single material allows us to study how the Anthropocene creates, and is created by, particular appropriations of the material world. It offers a corrective to some Anthropocene literature that avoids discussing the complex, “everyday,” social impacts that fossil fuels have, particularly in the developing world. These intertwined impacts add to the complexity and difficulty in the process of decarbonizing societies, or in transitioning to a sustainable energy future.
KeywordsCarbon lock-in India Materialism Coal crime Anthropocene
Both authors would like to thank colleagues at the Centre International de Criminologie Comparée at Université de Montréal for their helpful comments and insights on an earlier version of this work. We would also like to thank Nchimunya Hamukoma for her research assistance.
- 1.Ahmad, N. (2014). Colonial legislation in postcolonial times. In K. Lahiri-Dutt (Ed.), The coal nation: Histories, ecologies, and politics of coal in India (pp. 257–275). Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- 3.Ahn, S.-J., & Graczyk, D. (2012). Understanding energy challenges in India: Policies, players and issues. Paris: IEA. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/download/6115311e.pdf?expires=1493147346&id=id&accname=ocid177151&checksum=60972247FB236BA8B79E5B6FDF9E7CAC. Accessed 18 May 2017.
- 6.BP. (2016). BP statistical review of world energy. London: BP. https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/pdf/energy-economics/statistical-review-2016/bp-statistical-review-of-world-energy-2016-full-report.pdf. Accessed 18 May 2017.
- 7.Braun, B., & Whatmore, S. (2010). The stuff of politics: An introduction. In B. Braun & S. Whatmore (Eds.), Political Matter: Technoscience, Democracy, and Public Life (pp. x–xxxix). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- 9.Coady, D., Parry, I., Sears, L., & Shang, B. (2015). IMF Working Paper: How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies? (no. WP/15/105).Washington DC.: IMF. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2015/NEW070215A.htm. Accessed 18 May 2017.
- 10.Coal India Ltd. (2017). Coal India Ltd Company Profile. https://www.coalindia.in/career/careerwithus.aspx. Accessed 24 April 2017.
- 13.Coole, D., & Frost, S. (Eds.). (2010). New materialisms: Ontology, agency, and politics. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- 14.Das, K. N. (2015). India douses century-old coal fires as Modi seeks output boost. Reuters. http://in.reuters.com/article/india-coal-mines-modi-idINKBN0OG01R20150531. Accessed 18 May 2017.
- 15.Das, K. N. (2016). Coal India plans biggest tech overhaul to check rampant theft. Reuters. New Delhi. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-coal-idUSKCN0UR01V20160113. Accessed 18 May 2017.
- 16.Erickson, P., Kartha, S., Lazarus, M., & Tempest, K. (2015). Assessing carbon lock-in. Environmental Research Letters, 10. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/8/084023.
- 20.ICC. (2012). The Indian coal sector: Challenges and future outlook. Kolkata: ICC https://www.pwc.in/assets/pdfs/industries/power-mining/icc-coal-report.pdf. Accessed 18 May 2017.Google Scholar
- 21.IEA. (2015). India energy outlook. Paris: IEA. https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/IndiaEnergyOutlook_WEO2015.pdf. Accessed 18 May 2017.
- 22.Jena, M. (2014). Coal likely to remain India's energy focus as country battles for jobs. Thomson Reuters Foundation. http://news.trust.org//item/20141007135757-bi2zg. Accessed 18 May 2017.
- 23.Johnson, K. (2015). Green gamble: Can India avoid repeating China's dirty-energy mistakes? Foreign Policy, Nov-Dec, 215, 94–97.Google Scholar
- 24.Lahiri-Dutt, K. (2014). Between legitimacy and illegality: Informal coal Mining at the Limits of justice. In K. Lahiri-Dutt (Ed.), The coal nation: Histories, ecologies, and politics of coal in India (pp. 39–62). Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- 26.Lahiri-Dutt, K., & Williams, D. J. (2005). The coal cycle: Small-scale illegal coal supply in eastern India. Resources, Energy, and Development, 2(2), 93–105.Google Scholar
- 28.Lovell, H. (2014). The making of low carbon economies. Milton Park: Routledge.Google Scholar
- 29.Mehdudia, S. (2011). CIL to install GPD to check coal pilferage. The Hindu. http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/cil-to-install-gps-to-check-coal-pilferage/article2729258.ece. Accessed 18 May 2017.
- 32.Ministry of Coal. (2014b). Provisional coal statistics 2013–2014. Kolkata: Ministry of Coal http://www.coal.nic.in/sites/upload_files/coal/files/coalupload/provisional1314_0.pdf. Accessed 23 November 2016.Google Scholar
- 33.Ministry of Coal. (2016a). Annual Report 2015–16. Chapter 7: Coal Distribution and Marketing New Delhi: Ministry of Coal. http://coal.nic.in/sites/upload_files/coal/files/coalupload/chap7AnnualReport1516en.pdf. Accessed 18 May 2017.
- 34.Ministry of Coal. (2016b). Provisional Coal Statistics 2015–16. Kolkata. Coal Controller's Organisation, Ministry of Coal. http://www.coalcontroller.gov.in/writereaddata/files/Provisional Coal Statistics 2015–16.pdf. Accessed 19 May 2017.
- 35.Mitchell, T. (2011). Carbon democracy: Political power in the age of oil. London: Verso.Google Scholar
- 36.Morton, T. (2013). Hyperobjects: Philosophy and ecology at the end of the world. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- 37.Pearce, F. (2016). The human cost of India's push to Produce More Coal. Yale Environement 360. http://e360.yale.edu/features/on_burning_ground_human_cost_indias_push_produce_more_coal. Accessed 24 April 2017.
- 39.Salter, M. (Ed.). (2015). Making things international Vol. 1: Circuits and motion. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- 40.Saraf, S. (2015). India coal: Transport bottlenecks as demand is expected to rise. S&P Global Platts. http://www.platts.com/news-feature/2015/coal/india-coal-transport/index. Accessed 24 April 2017.
- 41.Sen, A. (1977). Rational fools: A critique of the Behavioural foundations of economic theory. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 6(4), 317–344.Google Scholar
- 44.Singh, N. (2013). India's coal cycle wallahs: “People have no alternative but to steal from mines.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/sep/06/india-coal-cycle-wallahs. Accessed 24 April 2017.
- 45.Sugden, J. (2013). Why India Has a “Sand Mafia.” The Wall Street Journal. https://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2013/08/06/why-india-has-a-sand-mafia/. Accessed 24 April 2017.
- 46.Tiakaba, J. T. (2016). Impact of coal mining on water quality in Mangkolemba region under Mokokchung District Nagaland, India. Journal of Environmental Research and Development, 10(3), 436–444.Google Scholar
- 50.World Energy Council. (2017). Top coal producing countries. London: World Energy Council. https://www.worldenergy.org/data/resources/resource/coal/. Accesssed 25 April 2017.
- 51.World Resources Institute. (2017). CAIT Climate Data Explorer. Washington DC.: World Resources Institute. http://cait2.wri.org/historical/Country GHG Emissions?indicator%5B%5D=Total GHG Emissions Excluding Land-Use Change and Forestry&indicator%5B%5D=Total GHG Emissions Including Land-Use Change and Forestry&year%5B%5D=2013&sortIdx. Accessed 24 April 2017.