India’s per capita carbon dioxide emissions lowest among G20 Nations

10:34' PM - Friday, 28/06/2019

India’s renewable energy consumption still fails to completely replace the conventional resources like fossil fuels.

Climate change was put forth as one of the major challenges at the G20 Summit 2019 in Osaka. While experts have already declared a natural emergency, India has nothing to celebrate despite the lowest contributor to carbon footprint per capita, or per person.

India was the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide at 2076.83 million tonnes behind China and United States. The country produces large emissions overall due to its fuel consumption and activities. The Hindu reported a 5 percent rise in emissions by India in 2018, which stands around 2,299 million tonnes. Therefore, India’s renewable energy consumption still fails to completely replace the conventional resources like fossil fuels.

While Saudi Arabia has the highest per capita air emissions of carbon dioxide among the G20 Nations due to industrialization, its overall emissions were much lower at 527.2 million tonnes.

Conventional sources of energy like coal contributes to higher greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide. Thus, climate change was responsible for an extremely hot summer in the country, making 2019 the hottest year in the Indian history for few cities. Greenhouse gases are known to increase surface temperature leading to 'Global Warming' by trapping heat. carbon dioxide is a main greenhouse gas. As per International Energy Agency, electricity and heat generation were the largest source of emissions in 2016. As a by-product of this energy production, carbon dioxide is emitted at different intensities depending upon the process and resource used. This phenomenon is directly related to the rise in sea levels, which have both environmental and economical risks.

Not only environmental and economical, climate change is believed to have a social impact as well. As per a UN report, Climate change “threatens to undo the last 50 years” of development, global health and poverty reduction, a United Nations expert had said, citing the risk of a new era of “climate apartheid” where the rich buy their way out of rising heat and hunger. As per World Bank: Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2018, four out of five extremely poor in South Asia, reside in India.

India also has the fourth largest population of millionaires in the Asia Pacific as per Karvy Wealth Report 2018. If climate change will create a “climate apartheid” in India with one of the largest wealth disparities, it is critical that it is contained now. On a global platform, it is believed to redistribute power among rich and poor countries.

Out of 32,314.20 million tonnes of emissions in the world in 2016, G20 nations contributed to around 27,000 million tonnes i.e. around 80 percent. If these nations work alongside towards sustainable development goals by reducing their carbon footprint, the intensity of this change will be huge. Although, climate change might have failed to gain momentum as a pressing need of the hour in the summit as US seems to have sidelined the topic. - Money Control -

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