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India’s CO2 Emissions Fall

According to the environmental website CarbonBrief, India’s CO2 emissions have fallen year-on-year for the first time in 40 years, showing a drop of about 1% in the fiscal year ending in March 2020.
This article appeared in Vol. 17, No. 3 - 2020

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India’s CO2 Emissions Fall

According to the environmental website CarbonBrief, India’s CO2 emissions have fallen year-on-year for the first time in 40 years, showing a drop of about 1% in the fiscal year ending in March 2020. Obviously, the economic slowdown resulting from Covid-19 is a significant factor in this – Indian CO2 emissions fell 15% in March, and probably about 30% in April – but statistics show that the country has been reducing emissions even without coronavirus.

  • Solar Power Plant Telangana II in state of Telangana, India. Thomas Lloyd Group/Wikipedia.

The main reason for the deceleration of the increase in CO2 before the pandemic was a slowdown in the expansion of coal-fired electricity generation. Since 2005 India’s CO2 emissions have doubled, primarily due to the use of coal, but also as the result of a strong increase in electricity demand in the country, partly driven by a drive to bring electricity to every village. In recent years, however, there has been increased competition from renewables which has reduced the reliance on coal: in the first six months of 2019, for example, wind, solar, and hydro generation met a record 70% of the increase in electricity demand, according to CarbonBrief (www.carbonbrief.org). The percentage of the supply of energy from renewables has remained the same throughout the pandemic.

While the power sector has been the largest contributor to India’s greenhouse gas emissions, its industry and oil consumption have also been seeing significant growth in CO2 output as the country’s economy expands. However, growth in oil consumption has been slowing since early 2019, down 5% on average over the past 10 years. 

The trend in India’s CO2 emissions is of global importance because since 2013, the country has accounted for more than half of the increase in global CO2 output. With a population of 1.4 billion it is one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, and while the country has impressive and ambitious targets for the energy transition, ensuring that its citizens have access to electricity and clean cooking must remain a major energy priority, along with efficiency, sustainability and security. 

Further reading >> https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/05/07/coronavirus-lockdown-speeds-indias-shift-coal-solar-power/

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