GLOBAL EMISSIONS of carbon dioxide are all set to register an all-time high in 2018, driven by a strong growth in emissions from India, according to the latest annual report of the Global Carbon Project.
In India, which is already the third-biggest emitter of the world, the carbon dioxide emissions in 2018 are likely to be 6.3 per cent more than in 2017, and expected to touch 2.62 billion tonnes, the report says. India’s growth in emissions was in fact the maximum for any major emitter.
Globally, the CO2 emissions this year is likely to touch 37.12 billion tonnes, which is 2.7 per cent more than the previous year. “After low growth during 2014 to 2016, fossil CO2 emissions have now risen two years in a row, with a 1.6 per cent rise in 2017 and a projected 2.7 per cent (range 1.8 per cent to 3.7 per cent) rise expected in 2018, reaching a record high of 37.1 (plus or minus 2) billion tonnes of CO2. The peak in global CO2 emissions is not yet in sight,” the report said.
China continues to remain the largest emitter of the world, with its emissions in 2018 likely to reach 10.3 billion tonnes, an increase of 4.7 per cent from last year. Emissions from the US, the second-biggest emitter, were likely to reach 5.4 billion tonnes, a rise of 2.5 per cent from previous year.
Last year, India’s CO2 emissions had grown by 3.7 per cent, much lower than the average of about 6 per cent for the last 10 years, and this report had then said that it could have been partially attributable to demonetisation and GST.
This year’s growth in emissions has been attributed to the strong economic growth. “India’s economy continues to grow strongly, with the first two quarters of 2018 averaging eight per cent. While installations of renewables are strong, coal consumption continues to increase as mining outputs grow to supply existing power stations that have been operating well short of supply,” the report notes.
India’s growth in emissions is all the more noticeable considering the large deployment of renewable energy that has been happening and the fact that emissions intensity of GDP, or the emissions per unit of GDP, has been going down consistently over the last decade.
The report says that growth in global CO2 emissions could put the Paris Agreement goal of keeping the global rise in temperatures to within 2 degree Celsius of pre-industrial times “in jeopardy”.
“According to IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change), to limit warming well below 2 degree Celsius, CO2 emissions should decline by about 20 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero around 2075; to limit warming below 1.5 degree Celsius, CO2 emissions should decline by 50 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by around 2050… The goal of reaching a decarbonised economy by 2050 seems far-fetched today because we are still anchored in the high-carbon technologies and economic constructs of the twentieth century…,” the report says.