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India launches independent emissions estimate

New platform for calculating the Asian giant's greenhouse gas emissions points to a growth of 29% between 2007 and 2012; it is based on the methodology developed by the Climate Observatory

15.07.2016 |

PRESS RELASE – JULY 15th, 2016

India’s greenhouse-gas emissions had a 29% increase from 2007 to 2012. The data come from GHG Platform India, the first independent emissions estimate for the Asian country, launched today in New Delhi by a coalition of six civil society organizations.

The platform, whose data are publicly available, is based on SEEG, the GHG Emissions Estimate System created by the Brazilian Climate Observatory (Observatório do Clima), which produces yearly estimates of Brazilian emissions since 2013 and in 2015 was also launched for Peru.

“The launch of the platform is a significant step towards increasing transparency and public information availability in a country which despite its very low per capita emissions is the fourth biggest emitter in the world”, says Tasso Azevedo, head of SEEG Global, who was in Delhi for the launch.

According to the new data, emissions in India rose from 1.931 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in 2007 to 2.490 billion tons in 2012. The latest official data, submitted to the United Nations in India’s Biennial Update Report (BUR), refer to 2010. The difference between the data from the civil society platform and India’s BUR for that year is 2%.

Unsurprisingly, the largest growth (33.8%) was seen in the energy sector, chiefly due to coal burning for electricity generation. Within this sector, transport emissions have grown by 40% to 230 million tons, but they are still small compared to public electricity generation (916.3 million tons – a 36% growth). On the other hand, agriculture emissions remained stable, and carbon removals from planted forests are higher than emissions from deforestation. The forestry sector makes up a total removal of nearly 180 million tons of CO2 equivalent.

The data also imply that Indian economy’s energy intensity has increased, although at a slower rate. The country’s INDC has pledged to reduce emissions intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030 compared to 2005. According to Srinivas Krishnaswamy, CEO of the Vashudha Foundation and Vasudha Foundation and one of the organizers of  the platform,  that growth does not mean that India is not on track to meeting its commitments. “We have seen a big push on solar energy over the last year and a half, along with many other programs in the energy efficiency space, which will possibly reflect in the emissions estimates for the years 2013-2014-2015.”

“We are in an era where we have to dig deep into different sectors for mitigating our carbon emissions and this database is an essential first step, for us to get an understanding of emissions by sector in detail, particularly, the sub-sector information”, he says. “I am happy that, such an initiative by civil society groups to make available sector specific emission estimates at a more granular level, for a time series of years, is made available for easy access.”

GHG Platform India is a partnership between the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (STEP), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Shakti – Sustainable Energy Foundation, the Vashudha Foundation and the World Resources Institute, in collaboration with SEEG.


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