Despite the Narendra Modi government’s claims of being committed to the Paris Climate Agreement, India registered one of the largest increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2016, in contrast to the other major emitters, which either saw decreases or stable emissions.
India’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by an alarming 4.7% in 2016, compared to the previous year, the report released by Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency on Thursday, said. The US saw a decline of 2% and even China reported a decrease of 0.3%.
The good news is that global carbon dioxide emissions, which is the primary greenhouse gas, have remained flat in the past two years registering only marginal increases of less than 0.5%.
The report attributed the downward trend to falling coal consumption and a shift towards cleaner fuels. India, however, bucked this trend as well, with coal consumption rising by 4% in 2016.
Greenhouse gases include not just carbon dioxide but also methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases, which constitute 28% of all GHG emissions, and in India contribute to over 30%.
Increase in these gases was one of the major causes for GHG rising in India. Methane is the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas. The biggest emitter of methane is cattle, which contribute to almost a quarter of global methane emissions.
India has the largest number of cattle in the world, with around 200 million of them. Cattle farts and belches contain methane.
Share in global emissions in 2016 (and change from previous year)
- China: 26% (- 0.3%)
- US: 13% (-2.0%)
- India: 7% (+4.7%)
- Russian Federation: 5% (-2.1%)
- European Union: 9% ( +0.2%)
Although varying per country, non-CO2 emissions constitute a significant share in total GHG emissions. Globally, the combined share of CH4, N2O and F-gas emissions is about 28% in total GHG emissions (19%, 6%, and 3% respectively), but it varies for the largest countries – 11% for Japan and 31% for India.
The trends in CO2 emissions of the largest emitting countries/regions are shown in Figure 3. Most of them showed a decrease in CO2 emissions in 2016; most notably the United States (-2.0%), the Russian Federation (-2.1%), Brazil (-6.1%), China (-0.3%), and, within the European Union, the United Kingdom (-6.4%). In contrast, the largest absolute increases were seen in India (+4.7%) and Indonesia (+6.4%) and smaller increases in Malaysia, Philippines, Turkey and Ukraine.
For many of the largest emitting countries, this is a continuation of the trend of 2015. With an estimated 0.2% increase in CO2 emissions, emissions in the European Union remained more or less the same in 2016. In contrast to most of the main emitters, the emissions from the rest of the world show a rising trend
In contrast, large increases were seen in India and Indonesia, where coal consumption increased by a respective 4% and 23%. These countries showed a similar pattern in 2015 (BP, 2017).
Although varying per country, non-CO2 emissions constitute a significant share in total GHG emissions. Globally, the combined share of CH4, N2O and F-gas emissions is about 28% in total GHG emissions (19%, 6%, and 3% respectively), but it varies for the largest countries; with 11% for Japan and 31% for India
For methane (CH4), the largest amount of non-CO2 greenhouse gas, the predominant source is non-dairy cattle, with over 16% of CH4 emissions in 2016. together making cattle responsible for 23% of methane emissions, worldwide.
The increase in GHG emissions is mainly due to the rise of non-CO2 emission levels in 2016, which was estimated at around 1%. With a share of about 28%, the non-CO2 GHG emissions are a significant source of global GHG emissions. Of those, methane, constituting about 19% of global emissions, is by far the largest category. Its main sources are fossil fuel production (25%), cattle (23%) and rice production (10%).