India best among nations meeting carbon intensity cut targets

Days ahead of the Copenhagen meet on climate change, a global survey has said India is the best among G-20 countries on track to meet carbon intensity cut targets since 2000.

Updated: Dec 05, 2009, 00:41 AM IST

New Delhi: Days ahead of the Copenhagen meet on climate change, a global survey has said India is the best among G-20 countries on track to meet carbon intensity cut targets since 2000 while the US needs to reduce it by 90 percent between 2008-2050.

The report prepared by PricewaterhouseCooper(PWC) reviews carbon intensity levels of G-20 nations between 2000-2008 and the distance to go to 2050, underlining the case for an ambitious deal in Copenhagen where the countries meet to chalk out a new climate treaty to replace Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.
The survey points out that only a few among the G-20 nations are on track to live within their carbon budgets for 2000-50. "India has made progress with a negative deviation of only around 1 percent on the same," the report said.

The PWC analysis estimates a global energy-related carbon
emissions budget to be under 1,300 gigatonnes of Carbon dioxide for the period from 2000 to 2050, to have a fair chance of restricting global warming to two degree Celsius.

Against the levels implied by the estimates, global carbon emissions are already 10 percent off track. The "Big 4" comprising China, US, India and the EU collectively account for around 63 percent of the cumulative global carbon budget.
In 2008, the US and the EU were nearly seven percent behind the target. China was 16 percent behind. India was closest to the target being only short of the budget by only 1 percent, the study said.

At current rates of carbon intensity improvement, the world will have a lready exceeded its estimated global carbon budget for the first half of this century by 2034, 16 years ahead of schedule.

The report assesses the reduction required in carbon intensity in each country to achieve the global budget. As per the report, the US needs to reduce carbon intensity the most, i.e. by 90 percent between 2008-2050.

For the same period, China and EU need to reduce carbon intensity by 85 percent. India needs to go the least distance at over 75 percent.

Bharti Gupta Ramola, executive director and India leader for Sustainability Practice, PwC, said, "Economies can be decarbonised without requiring either new miracle technologies or significant sacrifices of potential economic growth."

The assumptions and results are cross-checked for plausibility against other recent analyses by well-respected bodies such as the International Energy Agency.

Russia is the only G20 nation where carbon intensity reductions have been greater than its target between 2000 and 2008 due to rapid energy efficiency improvements over this period, albeit from a low starting point.

India is more or less on target and so has a score close to zero on the index (i.e. it just about lived within its carbon budget in 2000-8).

China performed below par in the initial stages of the period since 2000, but has recovered some ground since 2005, with strong gains in energy efficiency as government policy has focused more on this objective, the report said.

However, it is important to note that China performed exceptionally well on reducing its energy intensity in the 1990s, which is not reflected in the LCA index, given that this only starts from 2000, the report said.

The US and the EU rank towards the middle of the list, with carbon intensity reductions around 7-8 percent adrift from their 2000-based targets, according to the analysis.

Although both the EU and the US have made reasonable progress on energy efficiency since 2000, they have not yet moved significantly towards a lower carbon fuel mix involving greater use of nuclear and renewables, the report said.

Germany and the UK have intermediate results compared to other EU states, with their carbon intensity reductions by 2008 around 6-7 percent adrift from targets.

The projections are based on population projections from the United Nations (UN) that can also be used to express results in terms of carbon emissions per capita, the report said.