India is world's third largest carbon emitter
India is now world's third biggest carbon dioxide emitting nation after China and the US.
The new emission data from the United Nations is a probable cause of worry for India's climate negotiators at the next round of talks that started in Tianjin in China on Monday, where rich countries are expected to ask India and China to take legally binding emission cuts after 2012, when present global climate treaty expires.
China in 2009 moved to the top position while contributing 23 per cent of the total global emissions and India this year surpassed Russia to take the third position with five percent.
The saving grace is that the difference in total carbon emissions between the US (22 per cent) and India, is still huge. Russia's emissions have been fallen because of economic slowdown.
The data prompted Environment minister Jairam Ramesh to comment that the country cannot afford to strive for high economic growth and rise in carbon emissions.
"We will unilaterally, voluntarily, move on a low-carbon growth path. We can't have 8-9 percent GDP growth and high-carbon growth," news agencies quoted Ramesh saying at the sidelines of an environment meet in Kathmandu.
India's per-capita carbon emission is still lowest in the world (about 4.5 tonnes) but the demand for energy is rising, especially among the middle-class.
Ramesh, first to comment on India's position, said India's rush for wealth could not come at the expense of the environment. "Its to be low-carbon 8 percent, 9 percent growth and that is the objective that we have set for ourselves," he said.
But, the pressure on India and China to reduce emissions is rsing. Last month US chief climate negotiator Todd Stern told a meeting of major economies form that a legally binding climate treaty was not possible until India and China take "obligation" to reduce emissions.