India’s CO2 emissions are growing faster than the US’ or China’s

Up in smoke.
Up in smoke.
Image: REUTERS/Arko Datta
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India’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are growing at a faster rate than in any other major energy-consuming nation.

In 2018, CO2 emissions in the country rose 4.8% from the previous year, according to a new report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

But “despite this growth, per capita emissions in India remain low at only 40% of the global average,” the report adds. Even in absolute terms, the rise in India’s CO2 emissions trails that of the US and China.

Emissions from India accounted for 7% of the global CO2 burden in 2018, compared with the US’s 14%.

Coal’s reign

India’s higher CO2 emissions have been spurred by an increasing consumption of fossil fuels.

The country has set ambitious renewable energy targets for 2022, but is likely to miss them. The vast majority of the energy that India consumes comes from fossil fuels.

The growth in the country’s energy demand last year was also “led by coal (for power generation) and oil (for transport),” the report says.

Under the Paris climate agreement, India has set a target to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by over 30%, compared with 2005 levels, by 2030.

But the country has continued building new coal plants, and oil imports are only rising as its growing population becomes more prosperous.