Global warming is hot; let it cool: India 3rd highest producer of CO2 emissions

India contributes 2.6bn of emissions every year. China and USA rank first and second producing 12.5bn and 4.8bn emissions respectively

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  12 July 2023 11:00 AM GMT
Global warming is hot; let it cool: India 3rd highest producer of CO2 emissions

Hyderabad: India has earned a dubious distinction by becoming the third-highest producer of CO2 emissions in the world. India contributes 2.6bn of emissions every year. China and USA rank first and second producing 12.5bn and 4.8bn emissions respectively.

A study was conducted by experts at DriveElectric, which analyzed the annual emissions, GDP, and net zero targets to determine the worst offending countries.

China on top

The biggest CO2 producer in the world is China. In 2021 China produced approximately 12.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, making an immense contribution to global pollution. China aims to be net zero by 2060, making it one of the last ten countries in the world to reach this goal if all targets are met.

US at the second

The United States is at the forefront of CO2 production. The country emitted around 4.8 billion tons of CO2 in 2021, making it the world's second-worst culprit in this area. The country aims to reach net zero by 2050.

India at third

The third largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions in the world is India, where around 2.6 billion tons of CO2 are released annually. With a high level of annual carbon dioxide emissions, it's no surprise that India is the last country expected to reach net zero, tied with Ghana.

What is CO2 emission?

Carbon dioxide emissions are the primary driver of global climate change. It's widely recognized that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the world needs to urgently reduce emissions. But, how this responsibility is shared between regions, countries, and individuals has been an endless point of contention in international discussions.

Dangers of global warming

According to the study, climate scientists warn of the dangers of global warming and advocate the need to work towards net zero emissions.

To stabilize the effects of climate change, experts warn that CO2 emissions must be reduced to zero. The longer it takes to bring emissions to zero, the worse of an effect greenhouse gases will have on the planet.

Many are abandoning traditional internal combustion engine cars for electric vehicles, and installing a home charger, while others are pushing for private companies to set a goal for net zero emissions.

Target net zero by 2070

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a net zero by 2070 target at COP26 in 2021 (Ministry of External Affairs, 2021). India submitted its first Long-term Strategy for Low Carbon Development (LT-LEDS) the following year at COP27.

In December 2022, a "net zero emissions" bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha to provide a framework for achieving net zero emissions by 2070.

In the LT-LEDS, India outlines sector-specific action areas, targeting the power, industry, transport, building, and urban sectors (Government of India, 2022a). Yet the LT-LEDS does not provide sufficiently clear policy guidance on how the government intends to achieve net zero beyond its current policies and programs.

Coal continues to play an important role in India's long-term strategy for energy supply for grid stabilization, supply to industry, and energy security. India notes that it is ready to explore a greater role of low emissions technologies and alternative fuel such as nuclear, green hydrogen, fuel cells, and biofuels, next to coal but also consider gas as a transition fuel (Government of India, 2022a; Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, 2023).

According to the data by Climate Action Tracker---an independent scientific project, India's net zero target performs poorly in terms of its scope, target architecture, and transparency, and there is significant room for improvement. In particular, India could clarify the emissions scope of the target, better quantify its mitigation measures and pathways, develop a target review process and provide information on the extent of its intended use of carbon dioxide removal technologies.

Indian Railways to go net-zero by 2023

Indian railways are making big plans to become net-zero by 2023. It has accelerated the phase-out of diesel coaches and the electrification of broad-gauge railway tracks. The Railways' diesel use was 26,41,142 kilolitres in 2018-2019, which dropped by 10.44% in 2019-2020 and further declined by 50.29 percent to 11,75,901 kilolitres in 2020-21.

The Indian railways is the largest consumer of electricity in the country, with a majority of the demand (85%) used to run trains while the rest is to meet non-traction demand like use at railway stations.

Maldives aims at net zero by 2030

By 2030, the Maldives, Barbados, Dominica, and Mauritania aim to be completely net zero. This is sooner than any other country in the world. The Maldives has solidified its net zero targets in law, while Barbados and Dominica have pledged their targets in policy documents. Meanwhile, Mauritania's target remains a proposal.

The study also found

Samsung and JPMorgan Chase have both achieved net zero direct emissions as a self-declared goal in 2020.

Merck, the German science and technology company, headlines the race to net zero. The company is aiming to achieve net zero in just two years.

Ways to reduce CO2 emissions

Transition to clean energy sources: Shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power.

Promote green building practices: Encourage energy-efficient designs, use of sustainable materials, and renewable energy integration in buildings. This can be achieved through better insulation, energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, and efficient vehicle engines.

Sustainable transportation: Encouraging public transportation, carpooling, biking, and walking. Promote the use of electric vehicles or hybrid vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions from the transportation sector.

Forest conservation and reforestation: Protecting the existing forests and promoting reforestation efforts can help as forests act as carbon sinks, absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Waste management: Following waste management strategies like recycling and composting to reduce methane emissions from landfills. Reduce the use of single-use plastics and encourage responsible consumption.

Sustainable agriculture: Adopt sustainable farming practices that minimize the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Awareness: Spreading awareness about the importance of reducing CO2 emissions like encouraging individuals, businesses, and communities to adopt sustainable practices.

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