NEW DELHI: Economic slowdown, growth of renewable energy and the impact of Covid-19 have led to first year-on-year reduction in India’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in four decades, said an analysis by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
Analysis of official data across the 2019-20 fiscal year shows the fall has been steeper in March, due to measures to combat the pandemic. The emissions fell by an estimated 15 per cent during March and are likely to have fallen 30 per cent in April.
“Using the indicators for coal, oil and gas consumption, we estimate that CO2 emissions fell by 30m tonnes in the fiscal year ending March, in what is likely to have been the first annual decline in four decades,” said the report.
As with the global CO2 impact of the pandemic, the report said longer-term outlook for India’s emissions will be shaped, to a significant degree, by the government’s response to the crisis. This response is now starting to emerge and will have major long-term implications for India’s air quality trajectory.
As lower power demand growth and competition from renewables weakened the demand for thermal power generation in past 12 months, the drop-off in March was enough to push generation growth below zero in the fiscal year ended March, the first time in three decades, it added.
The report shows coal-fired power generation fell 15% in March and 31% in the first three weeks of April, based on daily data from national grid. In contrast, renewable energy generation increased by 6.4% in March and saw a slight decrease of 1.4% in the first three weeks of April.