The Paris agreement considered developing nations' need for greater investments in traditional energy resources to meet their growth requirements, and hence, rightly recognized that the developing countries will take longer than the advanced nations in peaking emissions.
The US President Donald Trump, in order to make good on his campaign promise of pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, used the excuse that under the deal India got the unfair advantage of being allowed to increase carbon emissions, while the US was required to stop polluting the air, which would drive American workers out of work.
The issue of the imbalance between the allowances for developing nations and the developed countries was crucial for Donald Trump to concoct a good enough reason to justify arguably the worst decision a head of a progressive state has made in a very long time. “India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it: India can double their coal production. We’re supposed to get rid of ours,” Donald Trump said in a bid to justify his monumental blunder.
Indeed, the Paris climate accord, a deal between 195 countries across the world to take strict action for preventing climate change and a rise in global warming, did allow extended timelines for developing nations such as India and China to meet carbon reduction targets. Does that mean that Donald Trump was right in his rant against India? No, because India emits nowhere close to as much carbon dioxide as the US itself.
India doesn’t pollute nearly enough
India is in 122nd spot in a list of top 205 countries on the basis of highest CO2 emissions per capita in 2015. India emitted a mere 1.87 tons of CO2 per capita in 2015, according to the data released by European Commission’s EDGAR database. This compares with a whopping 16.07 ton per capita for the US, which is high up in the list at number 12.
Other countries which pollute even more per capita include the advanced nations such as Australia (18.62 ton) and Luxembourg (18.05 ton). All the other three countries in the BRIC nations too pollute far more than India. China’s per capita CO2 emissions in 2015 were at a staggering 7.73 ton, Russian Federation’s were at 12.27 ton, and Brazil’s were at 2.34 ton.
But this is not all. India doesn’t take the podium in the race to be the world’s top polluter in terms of overall carbon emissions too, where one among the top three nations is — the United States of America! The big apple released 5.17 million kiloton carbon emissions in 2015, or 14.34% of the total emissions across the globe.
China tops this list with 10.64 million kiloton carbon emissions — an astonishing 29.51% share of the total. At the third spot is a bloc comprising most advanced economies, the European Union, which contributed to 9.62% of the world’s carbon emissions with 3.47 million kiloton of the harmful gas released. India’s 2.45 million kiloton CO2 emission with its 6.81% share across the globe pales in comparison.
The world agrees
The Paris agreement, which was signed by 175 parties in April, and became effective in November 2016 after ratification from the required number of countries, rightly recognizes that the developing countries will take longer than the advanced nations in peaking emissions. The agreement considered the developing nations’ need for greater investments in traditional energy resources to meet their growth requirements, and hence allowed more latitude by requiring them to take climate mitigation actions voluntarily as per their capabilities and capacities.
But Donald Trump, in his glaring wisdom, chose to ignore the gap between India and his beloved US when he chose to go on a rant against the deal being unfair to the American worker. The world has recognised that India is not at the unfair advantage. It’s time Donald Trump realises it too.
(This story was originally published on Friday, June 2, 2017 on www.financialexpress.com)