India’s CO2 emission could double by 2030

• Indian carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy generation in 2030 could be nearly double 2012 levels but will still meet its international commitments, says a new report. The authors—Navroz K. Dubash, Ankit Bhardwaj and Radhika Khosla of the Centre for Policy Research, and Narasimha D. Rao of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis—examined 15 scenarios from seven different studies to understand India’s emission and energy projections.

• They project a future based on current policies and scenarios. Under the current scenario, India’s emissions are likely to rise by 91-98% over the 2012 levels by 2030. However, the level is consistent with its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement of 33-35% reduction in emission intensity from 2005 levels. In addition, India’s per-capita emission will still be significantly lower than the global average.

• Currently, India’s CO2 emission from energy is the fourth highest in the world but is less than a quarter of China’s and half the US’s levels. The authors show that even a doubling of India’s 2012 emissions will put its 2030 emissions at less than half of China’s 2015 emissions.

• The study says India’s lower carbon future stems from two factors. One, official electricity planning documents, such as those by the Central Electricity Authority, estimate lower-than-anticipated demand for electricity.

• Two, as renewable energy prices decline globally, a faster-than-expected transition from coal to renewable electricity is likely to lower CO2 emissions. The authors suggest that while India’s energy demand will invariably grow, the magnitude of growth is amenable to policy intervention. They highlight the importance of modelling national energy and emissions to address the global climate problem.

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