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India Betters China in Climate-change Efforts

Published: 15th December 2014 06:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th December 2014 06:01 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: China and US are the biggest polluters in the world, with India ranking third, according to the 2015 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) report.

The CCPI, put out by German Watch and the Climate Action Network, however offers some consolation — India has climbed five spots and is ranked 31st in the CCPI table. “India climbs five places and continues to profit from the very low level of per capita emissions, but overall CO2 emissions have risen constantly over the past five years to about 40 per cent. At the G20 summit, India’s president announced a new programme promoting renewables. At the same time, the coal sector is experiencing immense growth,” said the report.

Rating countries according to their efforts to combat climate change, the report categorises India as “moderate”, while China was rated as “poor” and Saudi Arabia, Iran, Australia and Canada were rated as “very poor”. The most highly rated countries included Denmark, Sweden and the UK.

And while the biggest polluters were identified as China, US and then India, the report also points out that India has lesser pollution per person — while China churned out 7.1 tonnes of CO2 per inhabitant, the US was the highest of the three with a whopping 16.4 tonnes of the greenhouse gas per person. India had a relatively low emission rate — each Indian, on an average, emitted only 1.6 tonnes per inhabitant.

Denmark was ranked the cleanest country on the list, at rank 4 — the first three slots in the “very good” category are interestingly left empty. “Denmark leads the CCPI table once again in 4th place with ambitious renewable energy and emissions reduction policies. Even though emission levels are still relatively high, the country sets an example in how industrialised countries can not only promise, but also implement effective climate protection policies. The Index dedicates its country special this year to Denmark,” the report said. While the report observes that China’s efficiency scores are increasing and that emission levels are dropping, it also points to an increase in unsustainable energy sources such as nuclear plants. “China’s efficiency scores are improving rapidly. At the same time, a decline in emissions growth and similar decoupling processes on a global scale can be observed. CO2 emissions per primary energy consumption are starting to slowly decline and CO2 per GDP is shrinking. Moreover, renewables are continuously increasing. About half of all global renewable energy investments are made in China. At the same time, the use of unsustainable renewables (e.g. unsustainable biomass) is decreasing. On the downside, China continues to invest in unsustainable large-scale waterpower projects and plans to build many new nuclear power stations,” observed the report.

While placing Saudi Arabia at the bottom of its ratings, the report does have something positive to note about its plans to construct solar power plants. “ Saudi Arabia’s high emission levels remain unchanged compared to previous years, placing the kingdom once again at the bottom of the rankings. Yet, it must be noted that the energy outlook of world’s largest crude oil exporter hold out some hope. While the country’s economy still runs almost entirely on hydrocarbon fossil fuel, it envisions the implementation of up to 41 GW of solar and 9 GW of wind power by 2032. Although these numbers are impressive and could signal a significant game changer in the Middle East, their means of implementation remain vague as the state’s leaders seek to simultaneously free up even more of its oil and gas reserves,” it noted.

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