Climate Change

Global carbon emission remained static in 2016, but India registered significant rise

Slowdown in emissions is attributed to decreased use of fossil fuels, especially coal, and increasing popularity of renewables

 
By Shreeshan Venkatesh
Last Updated: Sunday 01 October 2017
Source: PBL Trends in Global Emissions Report 2016
Source: PBL Trends in Global Emissions Report 2016 Source: PBL Trends in Global Emissions Report 2016

Data published by the Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency showed that global CO2 emissions in the year 2016 remained largely static—neither increasing, nor decreasing. Compared to –0.2 per cent growth achieved in the year before, 2016 saw a 0.3 per cent change in CO2 emissions. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a whole, rose by 0.5 per cent, reaching an equivalent of 49.3 gigatonnes of CO2.

This comes as a wake-up call for India—the only major emitter to register a significant increase in GHG emissions. Among the emitters that make up nearly two-thirds of all global GHG emissions, Russia and the US managed to decrease their emissions by 2 per cent and Japan by 1.3 per cent. In Brazil and the UK, emissions reduced by over 6 per cent. Emissions from China and EU-member states saw no change from their levels in 2015. India and Indonesia, on the other hand, registered 4.7 and 6.4 per cent increases in their GHG emissions according to the report.

Source: PBL Trends in Global Emissions Report 2016

The global slowdown in emissions has been attributed to the decreased use of fossil fuels especially coal, and the increasing popularity of renewables. Here too, India remains one of the few big emitters investing more in thermal power as coal consumption rose by 4 per cent in the country.

According to the report, 2016 is essentially the second year in a row that emissions have remained more or less stagnant, notwithstanding the increase in non-CO2 GHGs. While this comes as a reason for cautious optimism in the run up to the COP23 in November, there is little clarity on how sustainable it is to keep carbon emissions static and how far or near we are to a tipping point in the earth's carbon budget scenarios.

The report is based on the updated version of the EDGAR v4.3.2 database.

Source: PBL Trends in Global CO2 Emission Trends Report 2016

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