The pledges to cut down carbon emissions given by three-fourths of countries, including India, are insufficient to meet the ambitious goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030, according to a new report released last week.
An analysis of the current commitments made by 184 countries to reduce emissions between 2020 and 2030 shows that 75 per cent of the climate pledges are partially or totally insufficient to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, said the report titled “The Truth Behind the Climate Pledges”, brought out by a non-profit organisation, The Universal Ecological Fund. The report was authored among others by Robert Watson, former Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and James J McCarthy, former co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II, which assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change.
India’s GHG emissions, the report said, increased by about 76 per cent between 2005 and 2017, and is expected to further increase till 2030 until 2030, even though New Delhi was well on its way to achieve the pledged 30-35 per cent reduction of the emissions intensity of its GDP by 2030 over the 2005 levels. By 2014, India has already reduced its emissions intensity by 21 per cent, it may even go beyond 30-35 per cent by 2030.
But, the economic growth in India is pushing up its overall carbon dioxide emissions, which have more than doubled from 1.2 gigatonnes of CO2 (GtCO2) in 2005 to 2.6 GtCO2 in 2018. Its electricity generation capacity, in instance, increased three-fold since 2005, but 57 per cent of its electricity generation is still dependent on coal.
Besides, the report questions India’s ability to meet the promises made on creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 GtCO2. India’s forest cover totals about 24 per cent of its geographical area. Since 2015, the annual increase of carbon stock has been 71.5 megatonnes of CO2. But to meet the target of creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 GtCO2, the annual carbon sink increase between 2016-2030 should be between 167-200 megatonnes CO2. This would require the double the rate of forest cover expansion.
As a result, while India’s commitment to reduce its emissions intensity is indeed encouraging, it will not result in a decrease in GHG emissions below the current levels. Thus, India’s pledge was deemed insufficient to contribute to reducing global emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.