India contributing a third of global emissions



Days after a Chicago University study marked the Indian capital of Delhi as the most polluted city in the world, the Indian government came up with a rebuttal of sorts, without referring to the findings of the study.

The Indian environment minister Bhupender Yadav claimed India’s annual per capita emissions were only a third of the global average and the country had set an ambitious climate target to reflect its commitment toward the global good. Yadav reminded the global superpowers of their duty towards helping the economically weaker nations to secure Planet Earth’s future.

“Global warming warns us that equity and international cooperation, leaving no one behind, hold the key to success, where the most fortunate must lead the way.” Yadav said while representing India at a virtual meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate called by US President Joe Biden last week.

The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) has warned that 40 percent of population in the states of north India faced a risk of losing 7.6 years of life on an average.

In the national capital Delhi, the most polluted mega city in the world, the residents could lose 10 years of life expectancy as the average annual PM2.5 levels exceed 107 micrograms per cubic meter (107µg/m³), 21 times higher than the WHO standard, which was revised in 2021.

The smog-filled air, which usually covers Indian cities, especially during the winter months, contains dangerously high levels of fine particular matter called PM2.5, tiny particles that can clog lungs and cause a host of diseases.

The Air Quality Life Index prepared by EPIC indicates that the current air quality levels in the country, that holds second position in global pollution ranking, has shortened life expectancy of an average Indian by five years.

The Indian minister claimed India has installed 159 GW of non-fossil fuel-based electricity generation capacity and in the last seven and half years its capacity for solar power generation has seen a spike of 18 times.

“No nation can undertake this journey alone. Right understanding, right thought and cooperative action need to set our path for the next decisive half a century. All nations must adhere to their fair share of the global carbon budget,” Yadav said.

He also reminded the MEF’s major members to implement the call for Lifestyle for Environment at a global level as envisioned by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 in Glasgow