With the world’s largest population of over 1.4 billion and the fifth largest economy with an annual gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.1 trillion in 2022, India ranks third globally in carbon emissions. In 2021 the country emitted 2.7 billion metric tons of CO2, or 7% of the global total. The country’s energy consumption is projected to grow about 1.5 times faster than the global average over the next three decades. India’s policy choices and the targets it sets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be crucial to the world achieving the goal of 1.5°C pathway and not exceeding its carbon budget.
It may be recalled that India ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016 to limit global warming to below 2°C compared to preindustrial levels. It substantially augmented its mitigation commitments in its national statement at the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. More recently, at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, the country formally stated its net-zero goal by 2070, which it had announced in Glasgow. Yet despite these efforts, the International Energy Agency (IEA), in its World Energy Outlook (WEO), forecasts that India’s share of global CO2 emissions will rise from 7% in 2021 to 10% in 2030.
In this context, data, statistics, and reporting become confidence-provoking. India has been stepping the plate in disclosing its greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Since 2019, these efforts on compiling the emissions inventory and its reporting have incrementally been improving on scale. Most of the data started to be put up on respective federal ministries in charge of their portfolios regularly. Many ministries, for instance, the Ministry of Coal, Transport, Water, and Energy, began making their emissions data available every month and is publically available on their websites. However, much of the available data can be made simpler from the form and shape it currently exists in.
Emissions data and inventory in the country have a two-tier reporting mechanism. The first tier is domestic reporting for its internal stakeholders and audiences, while another tier is addressed to international stakeholders through UNFCCC biennial reports. These reporting cycles of three years each are being followed through 2015 (https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/indbur1.pdf), 2018 (https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/indbur1.pdf), 2021 (https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/INDIA_%20BUR-3_20.02.2021_High.pdf) onwards and have continued as per the arrangements between the country and UNFCCC. These reports are also available for domestic audiences and stakeholders on the nation’s Climate Change, Environment, and Forest Ministry’s website. The next biennial report is due in 2024.
National reporting mechanisms are followed by 58 federal ministries and 93 departments in the country through which the Indian federal government exercises its executive control. Each of these federal ministries has its website and gathers data through sub-regions and respective departments throughout the country. Some of the proactive and critical ministries, for instance, the Ministry of Coal, Water, and Transport, update their inventories every month, while others are not far behind in their efforts. Given the size of India and the volume of data, including the collection and collation methodologies involved, it is a feat of sorts in itself. Improvements in quality and statistical simplification of the emissions data have scope for further improvement.
Recognizing the need for India’s proactive role in the reduction of GHG and the mammoth process involved in building an inventory of emissions, the Indian government, under the national mission-digital India- has taken a unique initiative making data, infographics, and visualization based on a dynamic dashboard available on the website (https://digitalindia.gov.in/) for the public to view information. The website also makes the names and coordinates of officers responsible for data management and their coordinates (https://digitalindia.gov.in/management-team. However, there is a need to keep data simple for tailor-made work by those who may need it.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard India Country Manager Pooran Chandra Pandey.