The top four emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2017, which covered 58 per cent of global emissions, were China (27 per cent), the US (15 per cent), the European Union (10 per cent) and India (7 per cent), according to a projection by the Global Carbon Project. The rest of the world contributed 41 per cent last year, it said. The top four were followed by Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, rounding off the top 10.
India’s emissions look set to continue their strong growth, by an average of 6.3 per cent in 2018, with growth across all fuels – coal (7.1 per cent), oil (2.9 per cent) and gas (six per cent), the study said. The study also said that the Indian emissions were projected to grow by two per cent in 2017, compared to six per cent per year, averaged over the previous decade, due to significant government interventions in the economy. In India, emissions are expected to grow by a solid 6.3 per cent in 2018, pushed by strong economic growth of around eight per cent per year.
“Coal is still the mainstay of the Indian economy and as in China, it will be a challenge for solar and wind to displace coal, given the strong growth in energy use,” it said. It also said that although global coal use is still three per cent lower than its historical high, it is expected to grow in 2018, driven by growth in energy consumption in China and India.
The emissions in the rest of the world – the remaining 41 per cent of global emissions – are expected to grow by 1.8 per cent in 2018. This group is of mainly developing countries and the five countries contributing the most to the growth in this grouping in the last decade, are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Iraq and South Korea, the study said.
China, India and the European Union are setting the pace. These regions represent 40 per cent of global carbon emissions. They are set to achieve more than what they agreed, in the first round of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Their leaders can step up and announce even bolder programmes at the UN summit in September 2019, to review the commitments made during the Paris Agreement, it said.
The study said that while China and India still rely heavily on coal, the US and the EU are slowly decarbonising. India can continue to deploy solar farms, leveraging its leadership of the International Solar Alliance, to displace coal and clean up its smog-choked cities. By 2020, India can announce its own fossil fuel exit strategy and a target date for its peak CO2 emissions, the study said. The study warned that the global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industry, are projected to rise for the second consecutive year in 2018, by more than two per cent to a new record, mainly due to sustained growth in oil and gas use.