India’s total greenhouse gas emissions grew by more than 22 per cent between 2010 and 2014, reaching a level of 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2014, according to official data put out by government on Friday.
The Cabinet on Friday cleared a climate change action report that India, like every other country, has to submit to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change every two years. Called the biennial update report, or BUR, the submission contains the national greenhouse gas inventory among other information. India had submitted its first BUR in 2016, reporting its emissions data till the year 2010. This time it has submitted data till 2014. There is a lag in reporting of official emissions figures due to the time taken in collection, processing and multi-level peer-review of the data.
The submission shows that the energy sector, which includes electricity generation, transport and other fuel combustion activities, increased its contribution to India’s total emissions between 2010 and 2014.
India is already the world’s third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, though way behind lead polluters China and the US.
The submission also shows that carbon dioxide absorption, through forests and croplands, had gone up. These had created a net carbon sink of at least 300 million tonnes in 2014, an improvement from the 252 million tonnes that was absorbed in 2010.
India has committed itself to substantially increase its forest cover, promising to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels.
As part of its Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDC), India has also promised to ensure that at least 40 per cent of its electricity generation in 2030 would happen from non-fossil fuel sources, and that its emissions intensity, or emissions per unit of GDP, would reduce by at least 33 to 35 per cent by the year 2030 from 2005 levels.
Earlier this month, India had said that it hoped to achieve two of its three targets in the NDC much ahead of the 2030 deadline. It said the progress on creating the carbon sink through forestry had been slower than expected, but that target too would be achieved by 2030.
Vaibhav Gutpa of Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment and Water said the new data showed that India’s emissions grew at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of just about 5 per cent between 2010 and 2014, which was impressive considering the GDP growth during the same time. “A 5 per cent CAGR of greenhouse gas emissions between 2010 and 2014, compared to a 7 per cent CAGR of national GDP (at constant 2011-12 prices) in the same duration, indicates that India is on track to meet its NDC commitment of reducing emission intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030,” he said.
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