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India’s Contribution to Climate Crisis Stands at 4.8%: Study

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A new research paper has stated that India is responsible for 4.8% of global climate change. The paper, titled “National contributions to climate change due to historical emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide since 1850”, was published in the Nature journal. The paper, authored by researchers from Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia (UEA); CICERO Center for International Climate Research, Oslo, Norway; International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria among others, said, emissions from developed nations have contributed significantly to warming since the industrial revolution.

Contributions by other countries

According to the paper, US contributed to 17.3% of climate change, which is the highest globally, while China contributed to 12.3% of the change. The largest contributors to warming up to 2021 through emissions of all three gases since 1850 were: US (0.28°C ); China (0.20°C ); Russia (0.10°C); Brazil (0.08°C ); India (0.08°C); Indonesia, Germany, UK, Japan, Canada (each contributing 0.03-0.05°C).

Improvement of India’s Standing in Climate Negotiations

Considering the fact that India is far from the top contributors to the climate change and the fact that it supports the largest population in the world, the per-capita contribution of India to global climate crisis in significantly lesser than the developed countries. This aids in improving the country’s negotiating power at a global stage.
The paper is significant because it comes ahead of the Global Stocktake of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change scheduled to take place at UN Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai this December. The global stocktake of the Paris Agreement (GST) is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement by each country and sector. The Paris Agreement goal is to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

India’s Analysis

The paper’s findings are consistent with India’s analysis. In response to a question in Rajya Sabha on India’s contribution to climate crisis, junior environment minister, Ashwini Kumar Choubey said in a written response that “India with more than 17% of the global population has contributed only about 4% of the global cumulative greenhouse gas emissions between 1850 and 2019. Reports from various sources, including Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, highlight that the challenges faced due to global warming are mainly due to cumulative historical and current greenhouse gas emissions of the developed countries. Even though, we are not part of the problem, India is part of the solution and is doing more than its fair share.”
“Contributions to temperature change from GHG emissions USA 17.3% contributing to 0.28°C; China 12.3% contributing to 0.20°C; EU 10.4% contributing to 0.17°C; Russia 6.1% contributing to 0.10°C; Brazil 4.9% contributing to 0.08°C; India 4.8% contributing to 0.08°C ;Indonesia 3.4%,” tweeted Roxy Mathew Koll, climate scientist from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune referring to the paper.