India saw largest rise in GHG emissions in 2016 among major emitters
Despite the Narendra Modi government’s claims of being committed to the Paris Climate Agreement, India registered one of the largest increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2016, in contrast to the other major emitters, which either saw decreases or stable emissions.
India’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by an alarming 4.7% in 2016, compared to the previous year, the report released by Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency on Thursday, said. The US saw a decline of 2% and even China reported a decrease of 0.3%.
The good news is that global carbon dioxide emissions, which is the primary greenhouse gas, have remained flat in the past two years registering only marginal increases.
The report attributed the downward trend to falling coal consumption and a shift towards cleaner fuels. India, however, bucked this trend as well, with coal consumption rising by 4% in 2016.
By 2030, India has vowed to reduce its emissions intensity by 35% of 2005 levels and spectacularly expand its renewable energy capacity. The nation aims to have 100 GW of installed solar capacity by 2022. The National Electricity Plan released in 2016 said that 56.5% of India’s installed power capacity will be from renewables within the 10 years to 2027. Currently, the coal and other fossil fuels meet about 70% of India’s power demand.
Greenhouse gases include not just carbon dioxide but also methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases, which constitute 28% of all GHG emissions, and in India contribute to over 30%.
Increase in these gases was one of the major causes for GHG rising in India. Methane is the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas. The biggest emitter of methane is cattle, which contribute to almost a quarter of global methane emissions.
India has the largest number of cattle in the world, with around 300 million of them. Cattle farts and belches contain methane.Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, causing more warming over the long term.
The top emitters of GHG remain China (26%), U.S. (13%), India (7%).