CO2 emissions from Indian aviation sector less than the global average

India releases first ever report on aviation carbon footprint

By Uthra Radhakrishnan
Published: Thursday 11 October 2012

Indian airlines flying within the country and abroad account for less than one per cent of the country's total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, lesser than the global average of two per cent, says a report. According to the carbonfootprint report, a first for this sector, "In 2011, global airline operations were responsible for the emissions of 676,000,000 tonnes of CO2, representing approximately two per cent of the global anthropogenic emissions. In comparison, (emissions from the Indian aviation sector) represent less than one per cent of India's total CO2 emissions (1.84 billion tonnes in 2010), which is significantly lower than the global average of two per cent." The report estimates the total emissions from domestic trips at 6.7 million tonnes of CO2 and those of international trips at 5.9 million tonnes, a six per cent increase from 2010.

The report states that in the absence of monitoring, emissions from the domestic aviation sector will double and increase by almost 20 times in international routes by 2020. Directorate General of Civil Aviation chief Arun Mishra, who spoke on how the growing sector will contribute to development at the release, said “(This will) inevitably lead to environmental challenges. We are committed to developing a vision for sustainable aviation while safeguarding the industry’s growth. We will continue estimating the carbon footprint of Indian aviation on an annual basis.”

The growth of emissions from the aviation sector has been a major concern due to the increasing relevance that this holds for climate change. ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), the UN specialised agency that governs civil aviation rules and codes, has been accused of dragging its feet over finding a global, multilateral response to this. Frustrated, the EU issued a unilateral directive  to regulate carbon emissions from all flights flying into the EU, a move that has received retaliatory threats from major global players, including the US , China and India.

Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh categorically called upon all the regional ministers present at the conference to oppose such unilateral measures. He said: “Aviation is not only about air transport. It is a major driver of economic growth and resultant employment and development. The call for suppressing aviation growth to reduce its environmental impact is not acceptable to us as a solution. We need to facilitate growth of aviation along with finding innovative solutions to addressing environmental concerns. In this connection, we would request the delegates to oppose any unilateral environment measures… (and) work with ICAO to evolve global environment protection on basis of equity and consensus.”


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