US climate action will not lead to emission reduction: CSE

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 08, 2015 19:40 IST
Industrial emissions are one of the major contributor to global warming. (HT Photo)

As compared to India, the United States climate action will not lead to real emission cuts and its target to reduce global warming causing gases by 26-28% by 2030 will have no impact on lifestyle of an average American, a new report released by the Centre for Science and Environment on Wednesday said.

The CSE analysis that came after the deadline to submit climate action plan by countries called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) showed that US President Barack Obama’s clean energy plan will not drive American economy to low carbon growth. “There will be no policy driven emission reduction as America will shift from one costlier fossil fuel (coal) to cheaper option (gas),” said Sunita Narian, director general of CSE.

The CSE said the US by 2030 will occupy 17.25% of the carbon atmospheric space with just four percent of the world’s population. “They (US) have first mover advantage. They take the space and will leave nothing for us,” he said, before submitting a copy of the analysis called ‘Capitan America’ to environment minister Prakash Javadekar.

Javadekar also raised the issue of space left in the atmosphere to emit carbon and added that the Paris climate agreement should provide carbon space to the developing nations for economic and inclusive growth. “Because it is them who are suffering due to the present climate change which has happened due to historical responsibility of the developed world,” the minister said, adding that they expected equitable which delivers climate justice.

United States were among the first countries to submit its climate action plan for 2030 in March this year following several other big emitters including China and India have submitted their INDCs. Around 86% of global emissions are covered by the plans will lead to minimum 3.6% degree temperature rise by end of the century as against the target of 2 degree rise.

The CSE report said that United States will be emitting 750 million tonnes of carbon more in 2030 as because of “creative accounting”. It is because the US has taken 2005 as base year as compared to 1990 by European Union and has included forest sinks in its target.

The report also talks about energy intensive American lifestyle and reflects the comments of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York where he linked to lifestyle issues of the rich nations to dangers of climate change.

The report tracks the US lifestyle extensively saying the use of energy for air-conditioning was increasing in America and infusion of cars was leading to fall in use of public transport. “Lifestyle is not changing as people are buying more cars, driving more because vehicles are now more efficient, building bigger houses and buying more appliances,” said Chandra Bhushan, CSE’s deputy director general.

The study could also come handy for India during climate negotiations where US is taking a lead to have an agreement with climate action goals for all countries. The study says that the American energy system will be fossil heavy by 2030. Around 76% of its total primary energy will come from fossil fuels, the study said. In comparison, India’s dependence on fossil fuels would only be 60% by 2030.

Renewable energy contribution in US would be just 15% by 2030 as compared to about 30 % without nuclear in India. The US will reduce its emissions by shifting from coal based electricity to another fossil fuel --- gas --- which is cheaper and will not opt for renewable as they still cost more than fossil fuels, the CSE said.

Climate Action: India versus United States

Action plan:

US: 26-28% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030

Less than pledge in Cancun in 2010 of 30% emission reduction by 2030

India: 33-35% reduction in emission intensity of the GDP by 2030

Higher than 20-25% emission intensity reduction in 2020


Electricity consumed at home in US : 34 times of an average Indian home

US vehicles per 1000 people: 43 times of that in India


In 2012

US: 17 tonnes per capita

India: 1.6 tonnes per capita

In 2030:

US: 13 tonnes per capita (provided they meet emission target)

India: 3.1 tonnes per capita

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