Katowice, Poland: Aggressive push for renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies notwithstanding, India’s carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise by as much as 6.3% in 2018. The 2018 Global Carbon Project report attributes this increase to strong economic growth of around 8% per year.
The government will need to step up its climate policy if it is to slowdown growth in emissions while maintaining economic growth.
Global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the report, are on track to rise by more than 2% in 2018 on the back of renewed use of coal and continued growth in oil and gas use.
Other top emitters—the US and China—have also registered an increase in carbon dioxide emissions— 2.5% and 4.7%, respectively.
While the European Union, the third-largest emitter, is projected to register a small -0.7% fall in 2018.
However, that is well below the declines of -2% per year sustained in the decade up to 2014.
“Slowdown in emissions growth from 2014 to 2016 was always a delicate balance, and 1.6% increase in 2017 and growth in excess of 2% in 2018, clearly demonstrates that more needs to be done to reduce emissions,” said Robbie Andrew, a senior researcher at CICERO (Center for International Climate Research) in Oslo.
While the growth in carbon dioxide emissions is not good news, the rather steep rise over last year, while accounting for the lower emissions intensity for every dollar of GDP and rapid deployment of low-carbon technologies, indicates that the Indian economy has bounced back.
In 2017, India’s emissions were projected to rise by 2%. According to the report, this was not just a reflection of aggressive and proactive interventions by government and rapid progress in installation of solar energy capacity. The massive drop in amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced, the 2017 report said, was also a reflection of reduced exports, declining share of industrial and agricultural production in GDP, reduced consumer demand, and a sudden fall in money circulation attributable to demonetisation late in 2016 and introduction of GST in 2017.
The report authors attribute the increase in India’s emissions to two broad factors. First, India’s economy continues to grow strongly, with the first two quarters of 2018 averaging 8%. Second, despite aggressive installations of renewables, coal consumption continues to increase as mining outputs grow to supply existing power stations that have been operating well short of capacity.
The report authors say that despite the rapid deployment of low-carbon technologies in India, coal is still the mainstay of the Indian economy.
“The continued growth in emissions simply indicates that climate policies are insufficient to overcome the continual upward march of energy use, driven both by the need to develop and the desire to consume ever more”, said Andrew.