India’s greenhouse gas emissions up by 4.7% in 2016

Smoked out:The emission figures of most major GHG emitters in the world, barring India and Indonesia, have gone down.Sushil Kumar Verma

Smoked out:The emission figures of most major GHG emitters in the world, barring India and Indonesia, have gone down.Sushil Kumar Verma  

Trends in global CO2 and total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions show that India’s emissions have gone up by 4.7% in 2016, according to the latest report by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

For most major GHG emitters in the world, the emission figures have gone down, barring India and Indonesia.

The Dutch strategic agency’s report shows that emissions in the U.S. saw a fall of 2%, the Russian Federation 2.1%, Brazil 6.1%, China 0.3%, and, within the European Union, the United Kingdom 6.4%. The report’s data is based on the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) produced by the European Union.

Non-CO2 emissions

In 2016, the five largest emitting countries and the European Union accounted for 68% of total global CO2 emissions and about 63% of total global GHG emissions. Most of the emissions consist of CO2, about 72%.

But methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated gases (F-gases) also make up substantial shares of 19%, 6% and 3%, respectively. Over the past two years, total global greenhouse gas emissions, excluding those from land use change and forestry, have shown a slowdown in growth, reaching 49.3 gigatonnes CO2 equivalent in 2016.

Over the past three years, non-CO2 GHG emissions have continued to grow somewhat faster than CO2 emissions: by 1.5% (2014), 1.2% (2015) and 1.0% (2016). CO2 over the same period increased by a respective 0.8%, -0.2% and 0.3%. Globally, the combined share of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions is about 28% in total GHG emissions, but it varies for the largest countries: 11% for Japan and 31% for India.

China’s current share is estimated at 20%, that of the United States and the European Union at 23%, and Russia’s at 25%.

A sign of growth

“India’s rising emissions are only a sign of development,” said Karthik Ganesan, Research Fellow at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

“Emissions do hurt the environment, but then the EDGAR database that this report draws upon only looks at emissions from 1990 onward when the whole world woke up to the problem of climate change. CO2 emissions have a 100-year residence period in the atmosphere. So, if you include the cumulative emissions data from before 1990, every developed nation will outnumber India.”

‘Not doing enough’

Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General of Centre for Science and Environment, told The Hindu that developed nations weren’t doing enough to reduce emissions in keeping with their historical CO2 emissions.

According to India’s own submission at the United Nations, its cumulative emission is 3 % of the global emission.

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