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India low carbon emitter, US emissions are 3.2 times the world average: Inequality report

NEW DELHI: Even though the top 1 percent of India's population hold more than one-fifth of the total income and the bottom half just 13%, the country is a low carbon emitter, according to the World Inequality Report 2021.

The average per capita consumption of greenhouse gas is equal to just over 2 CO2e. These levels are typically comparable with carbon footprints in sub-Saharan African countries. The bottom 50 per cent consume one, the middle 40 per cent 2 and the top ten per cent, 9 CO2e/capita. A person in the bottom 50% of the population in India is responsible for, on average, five times fewer emissions than the average person in the bottom 50% in the European Union and 10 times fewer than the average person in the bottom 50% in the US. Carbon dioxide emissions are the result of the burning of fossil fuels, certain industrial processes (such as cement production), agricultural production (for example, cows emit a lot of greenhouse gases), waste management, and deforestation. These activities generate carbon dioxide (CO2), as well as other greenhouse gases such as methane (CH4), and nitrous oxides (NOx).

Each of these gases contributes differently to global warming: one tonne of methane is equivalent to the release of 30 tonnes of CO2, and one tonne of nitrous oxide equivalent to 280 tonnes of CO2.

The report authored by Lucas Chancel, co-director of the World Inequality Lab, and coordinated by several experts, including French economist Thomas Piketty, said: “India stands out as a poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite.”

The report also found that wealth inequality had a strong correlation to carbon emissions and climate change goals. The poorest half of the population in rich countries is already at (or near) the 2030 climate targets in terms of emission rates, but that’s not the case for the top 50%.

“Large inequalities in emissions suggest that climate policies should target wealthy polluters more,” the report concluded. “So far, climate policies such as carbon taxes have often disproportionately impacted low and middle-income groups, while leaving the consumption habits of wealthiest groups unchanged.”

"In 2021, humans released nearly 50 billion gfdstonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, reversing most of the decline observed during the 2020 Covid pandemic. Of these 50 billion tonnes, about three quarters were produced in the burning of fossil fuels for energy purposes, 12% by the agricultural sector, 9% by industry (in cement production among other things) and 4% came from waste," said the report.

Read More at https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/india-low-carbon-emitter-us-emissions-are-3-2-times-the-world-average-inequality-report/articleshow/88156781.cms

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