India will become the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide by 2015 (it is currently in sixth position) after China and the United States, if it does not step up efforts to curb emission, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said.
The World Energy Outlook 2007, released on Wednesday, also says rapid economic strides by India and China will result in their accounting for the maximum increase in energy demand. “They will continue to account for about 45 per cent of the total increase in demand,” said Willan S Ramsay, deputy executive director of the IEA.
Ramsay also said economic development will contribute to improvement in the quality of life of more than two billion people in India but will push up per capita emission. He called for new policy initiatives for low carbon emitting energy alternatives.
Ramsay said the energy demand in India and China is bound to push up per capita emission in both countries but it will still be lower than OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. “The study demonstrates more clearly that even if the government does not change its policies, oil and gas imports, coal usage and greenhouse gas emission are set to grow inexorably through to 2030, even faster than what we had predicted in last year’s edition,” he added.
For India, the report says, consumption of coal as a generator of energy will nearly triple by 2030 and it will be primarily for power generation. “Power generation accounts for much of the increase in primary energy demand, given surging electricity demand in industry and residential and commercial buildings, with most new generating capacity fuelled by coal,” it says.
To meet the demand, India will have to increase its imports for the steel and power sector. Hard coal imports are projected to rise almost seven-fold, their share of total Indian coal demand rising from 12 per cent in 2005 to 28 per cent in 2030.
Before 2050, India will overtake Japan as the world’s third largest net importer of oil, after the US and China. But for that to happen, it will have to make necessary investment in infrastructure, the report cautions.
The report says India can still reduce carbon dioxide emission by 27 per cent, provided it uses cleaner technologies and switches to power from oil to meet its energy requirements. It ends by saying India’s economic growth will bring major economic benefits to the rest of the world.