Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Paris Agreement, Demonetisation, GST, 2017 Global Carbon Budget report
Mains level: This newscard talks about India’s GHG emissions which were substantially lower and the reasons for it
- The growth in India’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 was substantially lower than the average in the last one decade, and it seems demonetization and the introduction of goods and services tax also had some role to play in it
- The 2017 Global Carbon Budget report, published simultaneously in the journals Nature Climate Change, Environmental Research Letters, and Earth System Science Data Discussions says that by the end of this year, global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industrial use was likely to increase by 2 percent compared to last year, ending a three-year period of almost zero growth.
Why rise in Global Emissions?
- The rise in global emissions could be attributed to a 3.5 percent projected increase in the emissions of China, which had remained almost flat last year, and relatively lower reductions in the United States and the European Union compared to last year
- China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed by the United States, European Union, and India
- The return to growth in global emissions in 2017 is largely due to a return to growth in Chinese emissions, projected to grow by 3.5 percent in 2017 after two years with declining emissions
- The use of coal, the main fuel source in China, may rise by 3 percent due to stronger growth in industrial production and lower hydro-power generation due to less rainfall
India’s GHG Emissions
- India’s greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and industrial use was likely to be 2.5 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent
- Though India’s emissions in 2017 are also projected to rise, this increase is likely to be only 2 percent over last year
- In the last one decade, India’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased by an average of almost six percent every year
Why low emissions in India?
- The report acknowledges the rapid progress made in the installation of solar energy in India but says the substantially lower growth rate could be attributed to a slowdown in the economy as well.
- India’s installed solar capacity almost doubled in 2016 to 12 GW (gigawatts)
- The report published in Environmental Research Letters says the reduction in this year’s growth is attributable to many factors, which include
- reduced exports,
- a declining share of industrial and agricultural production in GDP,
- reduced consumer demand, and
- both a sudden fall in money circulation attributable to demonetization late in 2016 and a goods and services tax introduced in 2017
Emissions in India may increase if:
- India’s economy was able to recover quicker then the annual growth in greenhouse gas emissions was once again likely to go over 5 percent in 2018.
- Global greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 from fossil fuels and industrial use were projected to be 36.8 GT of CO2 equivalent.
- Of this, China would account for 10.5 Gt, the United States 5.3 GT, and the European Union 3.5 Gt.
- Rest of the world would contribute 15.1 GT of CO2 equivalent.
The main contributors to global GHG emissions
- Fossil fuel burning and industrial use account for nearly 80 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by human activities.
- The third big contribution comes from changes in land use. Deforestation, for example, would lead to increased emissions.
- The total emissions from all sources, including the contribution from land-use change, was projected to reach about 41 Gt of CO2 equivalent in 2017.
- The growth in emissions was likely to continue in 2018 as well.
This could have very important consequences for the global efforts to contain the rise in temperatures to within two-degree Celsius from pre-industrial times, which is the objective of the Paris Agreement