Monday, June 18, 2007

Indian policy-makers are loath to accept greenhouse emission cuts but promote market-driven non-solutions to global warming such as carbon trading.

India, like China and Brazil, is already among the world's top 10 polluters. Its GHG emissions have been rising more rapidly than the world average. Between 1992 and 2002, global emissions increased by 15 per cent. But India's emissions grew by 57 per cent, even faster than China's 33 per cent. India's carbon dioxide emissions are projected to increase almost two-and-a-half times by 2030. Carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles alone could rise 5.8 times for India compared with 3.4 times for China.

It simply will not do to contend that India's per capita emissions are about one-fourth the global average and so it is not obliged to cut GHGs. The per capita average hides enormous differences in consumption between India's rich and poor. It is the unbridled luxury consumption of its affluent classes that is driving the giddy rise in India's GHG emissions. The majority of Indians remain as frugal as ever in their use of resources.

...carbon trading as the principal instrument for mitigating global warming. This is a booming business. Last year, Indian companies made a neat Rs.1,500 crores by selling certified reduction emissions (CERs, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide). By 2012, India's earnings are estimated to jump to Rs.18,000 crores.

India accounts for the highest proportion of projects (29.2 per cent) of the global total (459) registered with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board, far higher than Brazil's 18.3, Mexico's 15.7, and China's 7.6 per cent. (In annual CERs, however, India's share is 11.5 per cent, compared with China's 43.2 per cent). The single largest Indian deal, for Rs.1,000 crores, was bagged by Gujarat Fluorochemicals, which runs a refrigerant plant but is better known for its "Inox" multiplexes. No wonder much bigger companies like Reliance, Grasim Industries, Gujarat Ambuja and Tata Chemicals are considering investing in carbon trading.

From Frontline, India's National Magazine
See also: ONGC, 1st PSU to receive Carbon Credit for clean technologies
and on this blog: From Those Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Food-for-Oil