India’s Per Capita Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fossil Fuels: Trends and Implications
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with a population of over 1.3 billion people. As the country develops, its energy demand and consumption also increase, leading to higher emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is the main contributor to global warming and climate change, which pose serious threats to human health, food security, biodiversity, and economic development.
Some of these include:
🔺 The high dependence on coal for electricity generation and industrial production: Coal accounts for about 70% of India’s total fossil fuel consumption and about 55% of its electricity generation. Coal is also a major source of air pollution and health problems in India.
🔺The increasing energy demand and access gap: India’s energy demand is expected to grow by about 35% by 2030, driven by population growth, urbanization, industrialization, and economic development. However, about 64 million people in India still lack access to electricity and about 840 million people rely on traditional biomass for cooking. Providing clean and affordable energy to these people is a key challenge for India.
🔺 The lack of adequate finance and technology transfer: India needs an estimated $2.5 trillion to implement its NDC by 2030, which is far beyond its domestic resources. India also needs access to advanced technologies and innovation to enhance its energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint. However, the international support for finance and technology transfer from developed countries has been inadequate and insufficient.
🔺 The uncertainty and variability of climate change impacts: India is highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures, erratic rainfall patterns, extreme weather events, sea level rise, glacial melt, droughts, floods, cyclones, heat waves, water scarcity, crop failures, vector-borne diseases, and displacement. These impacts can undermine India’s development gains and increase its poverty and inequality.
To overcome these challenges and achieve its climate goals, India needs to adopt a holistic and integrated approach that balances its economic development, social equity, and environmental sustainability.
Some of the possible measures that India can take are:
↗️ Accelerating the phase-out of coal and increasing the share of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and waste-to-energy in its energy mix. This can help reduce India’s GHG emissions as well as improve its air quality and public health.
↗️ Enhancing the energy efficiency and conservation in various sectors such as industry, transport, buildings, and appliances. This can help reduce India’s energy demand and consumption as well as save costs and resources.
↗️ Promoting the adoption of electric vehicles and green hydrogen in the transport sector. This can help reduce India’s dependence on imported oil and gas as well as curb its vehicular emissions and pollution.
↗️ Expanding the forest and tree cover and restoring the degraded lands and ecosystems. This can help increase India’s carbon sink capacity as well as conserve its biodiversity and natural resources.
↗️ Strengthening the resilience and adaptation of the vulnerable communities and sectors to the impacts of climate change. This can help reduce India’s disaster risk and enhance its human security and well-being.
India’s per capita CO2 emissions from fossil fuels reflect its development trajectory and its climate aspirations. India has shown leadership and commitment in addressing the challenge of climate change, while also pursuing its socio-economic goals. India’s climate actions can serve as an inspiration and a model for other developing countries, as well as a catalyst for global cooperation and solidarity.