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India has declared the latest available data of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. GHGs, which include carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases, are responsible for causing global warming and climate change. The data, submitted in a report to the United Nations, is for 2010. It shows India's emissions grew by 40% from 2000 to 2010, thanks to a 60% rise in carbon dioxide emissions. Emissions from industrial activities nearly doubled in the period. At the same time, for every rupee of GDP generated, our emissions in 2010 were 12% lesser than in 2000.
The report also throws up some interesting figures. Did you know that there has been a 24% increase in emissions from waste? Or that the burning of agricultural residue, which causes the north Indian smog every winter, caused the same emissions as 1 lakh return flights between Delhi and Mumbai?
This data was submitted as per the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which says developing nations should regularly report their progress on dealing with climate change. The main report is known as a "national communication". In 2010, it was decided that countries will additionally file an update every two years. The current submission is such an update (called the Biennial Update Report (BUR)).
This is India's first BUR, over one year beyond the December 2014 submission deadline. The Paris agreement signed last December had also called on nations to submit their reports soon. China is yet to submit it.
Our last "national communication" was in April 2012, when we submitted 2000 data. These submissions are the only official data we have on India's emissions; all others are estimates.
This includes not just CO2, but also other gases like methane and other gases (measured as equivalent to CO2, so that the numbers can be added together).
India's overall methane emissions have not increased from 2000 to 2010; they have marginally fallen.
Besides, as industrialisation picked up from 2000 to 2010, agriculture's share in emissions declined.
Within agriculture, emission from agricultural soils increase the most -- up to 42% -- in the period. Rice cultivation was responsible for lesser emissions in 2010 than in 2000.
In 2010, more than half of the emissions among industrial activities came from the "minerals" category, followed by chemicals and metal production (about 14% each).
Some interesting trends
The total emissions are equivalent to the GHG emissions caused by almost 1 lakh return flights running from Delhi to Mumbai in a year.
However, the contribution of waste to the country's entire greenhouse gas emissions has remained in 3-4% range.