Data released last month by Carbon Monitor, a global collaboration of research groups, showed that global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production fell 4.4% in 2020 compared to 2019. This was likely a result of global lockdowns imposed to control the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even at the time these lockdowns were imposed, an improvement in indicators of air quality raised hopes that a world with lower emissions from burning of fossil fuels was not an unachievable target. Continuing this trend of lower CO2 emissions, however, will also have socio-economic consequences, such as workers in fossil-fuel based power plants or in coal mines falling out of the workforce. An HT analysis of various data sets shows what such a path will entail for India.
1. Which sectors contribute the most to CO2 emissions?
Preparing for the socio-economic impact of CO2 emissions requires an understanding of which sector will be affected the most. The reduction in CO2 emissions in India in 2020 compared to 2019 was 8.3%, according to the Carbon Monitor dataset. Electricity generation played an important role in that reduction. The decline in CO2 emissions from the sector was a quarter (24.5%) of the total decline.
It is also the sector that contributes most to such emissions in India; the daily average share being 46.6% in 2019. As India makes a transition to cleaner fuels, it will likely be the sector where a large share of workers will be impacted directly.