Just The Facts

India: Emerging Emissions

India formally joined the Paris agreement on climate change on October 2, 2016.

Photo Credit: Paul Prescott / Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • India has been the world’s third-largest source of carbon emissions since 2011.
  • India’s per capita carbon emissions are barely one third of the global average.
  • CO2 must be stabilized at 450 parts/million. This can occur if global CO2 emissions fall by 70% by 2050.

1. India ratified the Paris agreement on climate change on October 2, 2016, marking the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, also the International Day of Non-Violence.

2. Even though it has been the world’s third-largest source of carbon emissions since 2011, India’s per capita emissions are barely one third of the global average.

3. India’s 1.7 tons of per capita emissions in 2013 ranked only 128th highest in the world.

4. The main reason for India’s high overall emissions is — as with China — its reliance on coal.

5. India obtained 55% of its energy from coal in 2013 — almost twice the global average of 30%, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

6. Climate scientists believe that the global atmospheric concentration of CO2 must be stabilized at 450 parts per million (it is currently at 400 ppm and rising) in order to keep global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

7. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014, this can occur only if global CO2 emissions fall by up to 70% by 2050.

8. That works out to just over one ton per person — lower even than India’s per capita emissions today.

9. The trick will be finding ways for India and other developing nations to raise their living standards while lessening their dependence on fossil fuels.

10. This will be a tall order, not least considering that an estimated 1.28 billion people in developing countries currently lack any access to electricity.

Data Sources: Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research and BP Statistical Review of World Energy

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