Global Carbon Project Report

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    1st Aug, 2019

According to Global Carbon Project Report, global carbon emissions are an all-time high of 37.1 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2018. India, the third-highest contributor, saw emissions rise by about 6.3% from 2017 in 2018.

Issue

Context

According to Global Carbon Project Report, global carbon emissions are an all-time high of 37.1 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2018. India, the third-highest contributor, saw emissions rise by about 6.3% from 2017 in 2018.

Background

Since the Industrial Revolution, energy-driven consumption of fossil fuels has led to a rapid increase in CO2 emissions, disrupting the global carbon cycle and leading to a planetary warming impact.   It has been the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century. Temperature rise to date has already resulted in profound alterations to human and natural systems, including increases in droughts, floods, and some other types of extreme weather; sea level rise; and biodiversity loss – these changes are causing unprecedented risks to vulnerable persons and populations.

In the wake of such alarming rising emissions leading to global warming and climate change, Global Carbon Project organisation was established in 2001 to quantify global greenhouse gas emissions and their causes. The Global Carbon Project collaborates with many groups to gather, analyse, and publish data on greenhouse gas emissions in an open and transparent fashion, making datasets available on its website and through its publications. Recently, it launched a Global Carbon Project Report highlighting several alarming emissions stats.

Global Carbon Project Report Highlights

  • Global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.6% in 2017, and new data indicates emissions could have risen more than 2% in 2018 on the back of sustained increases in coal, oil, and gas use.
  • CO2 emissions have now risen for a second year, after three years of little to no growth from 2014 to 2016. The rise in 2017 was 1.6%.
  • The 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada. The EU as a region of countries ranks third.
  • China’s emissions accounted for 27% of the global total, having grown an estimated 4.7% in 2018 and reaching a new all-time high.
  • Emissions in the U.S., which has withdrawn from its commitment to the Paris Agreement, account for 15% of the global total, and look set to have grown about 2.5% in 2018 after several years of decline.
  • Despite the rapid deployment in low carbon technologies in India, emissions are expected to grow a solid 6.3% in 2018, pushed by strong economic growth of around 8% per year. Coal is still the mainstay of the Indian economy, and it will be a challenge for solar and wind to displace coal given the strong growth in energy use.
  • Limiting global warming to the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping the global temperature increase this century to well below 2°C would need carbon dioxide emissions to decline by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by about 2050.

Also the IPCC Special Report reveals that at the current rate of emissions, the world is set to breach the global warming limit of 1.5 degree Celsius goal set in Paris Agreement between 2030 and 2052. At present, the world is 1.2°C warmer compared to pre-industrial levels.

Analysis

  • Carbon and other Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions vis-à-vis India
    • India with a growth rate of around 8% is one of the fastest growing countries and thus its energy demands and thereby Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions is also rising at an alarming rate of about 6.3%.
    • G20 Brown to Green Report 2018 says that India has one of the G20’s highest growth rates in energy use per capita (15 per cent) between 2012 and 2017.
    • India’s greenhouse gas emissions more than doubled between 1990 and 2015 (+147 per cent), and that trend is expected to continue.
    • IPCC report says that countries like India, with large populations dependent on the agricultural and fishery sectors, would be highly impacted. And thus, it should India must take the lead in forming a global coalition for a 1.5°C world to save its poor and vulnerable population.

  • Sector Wise Emission Estimates (2005 -2013)
    • The energy sector contributes 63% to the overall emissions while the Industry sector contributes to almost 26% to the overall emissions.
    • AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry and other Land Use) sector forms almost 7% (with Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)) of the total emissions while the waste sector contributes 4% to the national level estimates. 

                                                                           

IMPACT ON INDIA

The most affected people live in low and middle income countries, some of which have experienced a decline in food security, which in turn is partly linked to rising migration and poverty.  India is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. It has one of the highest densities of economic activity in the world, and very large numbers of poor people who rely on the natural resource base for their livelihoods, with a high dependence on rainfall. By 2020, pressure on India’s water, air, soil, and forests is expected to become the highest in the world.

  • Climatic factors : Rainfall and Temperature

A decline in monsoon rainfall since the 1950s has already been observed. Also, the summer heat has arrived early the past few years across India. Each year since 2016 there has been high temperatures in excess of 38°C in most of India during the second half of March.

    • A 2°C rise in the world’s average temperatures will make India’s summer monsoon highly unpredictable.
    • An abrupt change in the monsoon could precipitate a major crisis, triggering more frequent droughts as well as greater flooding in large parts of India.
    • Unusual and unprecedented spells of hot weather are expected to occur far more frequently and cover much larger areas.
    • Under 4°C warming, the west coast and southern India are projected to shift to new, high-temperature climatic regimes with significant impacts on agriculture.

SUGGESTION

  • Improvements in hydro-meteorological systems for weather forecasting
  • Installation of flood warning systems can help people move out of harm’s way before a weather-related disaster strikes.
  • Better urban planning to counter urban-heat islands and enforcing building codes to ensure homes and infrastructure are not at risk.
  • Agriculture and food security
    •  Decline in Agricultural Productivity:
      1. Seasonal water scarcity due to large scale dependent on monsoon and rising temperatures will directly affect the agricultural productivity.
      2. Intrusion of sea water, changes in soil moisture and the distribution and frequency of infestation by pests and diseases will indirectly affect the agricultural productivity.
      3. According to IPCC, Agricultural productivity in India was estimated to decrease by 2.5 to 10 % by 2020 to 5 to 30 % by 2050.
  • Nutritional security will be under threat as increased carbon dioxide reduce the concentrations of protein and essential minerals in most plant species, including wheat, soybeans, and rice.
  • Livestock will be affected due to rising heat change as it increases their vulnerability to disease, reducing fertility, and declining milk production.
  • Fisheries will be affected as changes in temperature and seasons can affect the timing of reproduction and migration.

SUGGESTIONS

    • Crop diversification, more efficient water use, and improved soil management practices, together with the development of drought-resistant crops can help reduce some of the negative impacts.
    • India has already taken few steps like precision farming, modern irrigation techniques, soil health card schemes, interlinking of rivers etc. to adapt climate SMART Agriculture.
  • Sea level rise and glacier melts

India has a long coastline of about 7500 km and focus for a variety of activities including industry, agriculture, recreation and fisheries with numerous big cities like Mumbai located along the coasts. Also India is surrounded by glaciers in the northwest whose melting may cause disastrous effects.

  • With India close to the equator, the sub-continent would see much higher rises in sea levels than higher latitudes.
  • Sea-level rise and storm surges would lead to saltwater intrusion in the coastal areas, impacting agriculture, degrading groundwater quality, contaminating drinking water.
  • Rise in vector-borne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera outbreaks, as the cholera bacterium survives longer in saline water.
  • At 2.5°C warming, melting glaciers and the loss of snow cover over the Himalayas are expected to threaten the stability and reliability of northern India’s primarily glacier-fed rivers, particularly the Indus and the Brahmaputra.
  • Alterations in the flows of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra rivers could significantly impact irrigation, affecting the food security and also flooding the lower lying states.

SUGGESTIONS

    • Strictly enforce building codes and better urban planning for climate-related disasters.
    • Built coastal embankments wherever necessary and enforce coastal regulation zone codes.
    • Major investments in water storage capacity would be needed to benefit from increased river flows in spring and compensate for lower flows later on.
  • Illness and Disease

The impact of climate change has been considerably enough to threaten human health both directly and indirectly through increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, water and food supply impacts, extreme weather events like floods, droughts, earthquakes, etc.

    • Extreme weather related health effects – heat waves, cold waves, extremely abnormal higher rainfalls increase the risks of health-related illness and even death for most vulnerable populations.
    • Air pollution related health effects – particulate matters leading to cardiovascular diseases, asthma episodes and other respiratory diseases.
    • Vector borne diseases - warmer temperatures allow disease-carrying insects, animals and microbes to survive in areas where they were once blocked by cold weather.

SUGESSTIONS

    • Strengthening health systems and service delivery mechanisms.
    • Provision of drinking water and sanitation facility to all.
    • Provision of funding for low income communities with poor sheltering and high exposure/risk to heat and cold waves.
    • Educating people about climate-related diseases.
  • Biodiversity

India’s biodiversity is highly vulnerable to climate change:

  • A new study by Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has revealed that the upper reaches of the Himalayas are warming and there has been a rise of at least 0.5 degrees Celsius in the temperature of the area, accompanied by an almost 10 per cent variation in humidity levels.
  • This has led to melting of glaciers, degradation and fragmentation of mountain biodiversity. There can be an increase in the phenomenon of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF).
  • The temperature variation is affecting plants and consequently, animals, in the Himalayan region. Change in flowering patterns and budding of leaves lead to change in activities of insects and thereby birds thereby affecting the entire cycle of the area.
  • Ocean Acidification - increased concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased the absorption of CO2 in the ocean, which reduces the pH and makes the oceans more acidic. This affects the marine species, including plankton, molluscs, and other shellfish.
  • Coral Reefs: It also affects the coral reefs as they are very sensitive to rising acidity, as it is difficult for them to create and maintain the skeletal structures needed for their support and protection.

INDIA’S EFFORTS

  • India has set out Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in line with Paris agreement –
    • Reduction in the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level ;
    • Create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
    • Achieve about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030
  • India formed a global solar alliance, INSPA (International Agency for Solar Policy & Application) to promote solar energy production.
  • India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) which covers eight major missions on Solar, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change
  • Smart cities, electric vehicles (FAME scheme for e-mobility), energy efficiency initiative.
  • Leapfrogging from Bharat Stage -IV to Bharat Stage-VI emission norms by April 2020
  • Schemes like UJALA for LED distribution has crossed the number of 320 million while UJJWALA for distributing clean cooking stoves to women below poverty line has covered more than 63 million households.
  • As per India’s second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to UNFCCC emission intensity of India’s GDP came down by 21% between 2005 & 2014 and India’s achievement of climate goal for pre-2020 period is on track.

Thus India has taken a series of initiatives to adapt and combat climate change. So far, an assessment of India’s capacity to undertake a low-carbon transition may well provide a reliable template for developing countries to emulate.

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