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India releases its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data

20 May 2010
India releases its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data

The Government of India has released the country’s emissions data for 2007, the first such official estimate to be presented since 1994.

The figures show that India's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions grew by 58 percent between 1994 and 2007, amounting to 1.73 billion tonnes in 2007, or approximately 4-5% of the world total. This ranks India – Asia’s third largest economy, with 17% of the  world’s population – fifth in aggregate GHG emissions in the world, behind China, USA, EU and Russia.

Internationally, India has committed to using per capita emissions as the metric for defining its contribution to global climate change efforts. Since 1994, the per capita CO2 emissions in India have risen from 1.2 to 1.5 tons in 2007. This compares to per capita emissions (in 2005) of around 23 tonnes in USA and over 5 tonnes in China.

The study found that electricity generation accounted for 37.8% of GHG emissions, up by over 200% since 1994. Agriculture accounted for the second largest share of emissions (17.6%), although it has shown a notable decline in its absolute and relative emissions since 1994. The industrial and transportation sectors accounted for a large and increased share of India’s emissions mix, as the country’s GDP continues to grow at a rate over 7%.

India is one of the first developing countries to announce such updated data. Importantly, Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, has stated that India’s emissions inventory  will now be published regularly in a two-year cycle.

This is likely to have a positive impact on India’s climate strategy, as it would allow modelling and monitoring practices to be incorporated into policies. This is in line with India’s announcement last October to set up a new climate research centre and build climate satellites to improve data collection.

Mark Kenber, The Climate Group’s Policy Director, noted the benefit for the international climate negotiations as well. “The monitoring, reporting and verification of developing country emissions is a sensitive but critical element to any new global climate deal. India’s leadership in publishing its emissions data will help build the confidence needed to resolve country differences on this issue”.

On the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit, India committed to a 20-25% reduction in its green house gas emissions intensity by 2020. The study has found that between 1994 and 2007, the emissions intensity of India’s GDP declined by more than 30%.

This suggests that India’s 2020 target should be achievable and lay the basis for deeper reduction in emissions intensity in the future. Such actions would not only support international efforts to keep global warming below 2 degrees but also contribute to improving the country’s productivity and energy efficiency..

Quick figures:

  • Net Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from India in 2007 (emissions with land use, land use change and forestry, LULUCF), were 1.73 billion tons of CO2 equivalent (eq) of which:

        1. CO2 emissions were 1.22 billion tons;
        2. CH4 emissions were 20.56 million tons; and
        3. N2O emissions were 0.24 million tons.
  • GHG emissions from Energy, Industry, Agriculture, and Waste sectors constituted 58%, 22%, 17% and 3% of the net CO2 eq emissions respectively.
  • The transport sector emissions include all GHG emissions from road transport, railways, aviation and navigation. The total number of registered vehicles in the country has increased from 5.4 million in 1981 to 99.6 million in 2007. Two wheelers and cars constitute nearly 88% of the total vehicles at the national level.
  • India’s per capita CO2 eq emissions including LULUCF were 1.5 tons/capita in 2007.

The study was undertaken by the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA). This network was established in 2009 by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. It brings together over a hundred institutions and two hundred scientists from across the country.

The study can be accessed from

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