New Delhi: India's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are 70 per cent below world average and 93 per cent below those in the US despite it being the fourth largest economy and fifth largest GHG emitter, says a joint study.
The report on Climate Change jointly brought out by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and Ernst & Young highlights that emissions in India increased by 65 per cent between 1990 and 2005 and are projected to grow by another 70 per cent in next 12 years.
However, emissions in India are low as compared to those other major economies as it accounts for only two per cent of cumulative energy related emissions since 1850.
The report pointed out that the major responsibility of curbing emissions rests with the developed countries, which have accumulated emissions over a long period of time.
The Assocham-E&Y report also highlights that India's GHG intensity is currently 20 per cent lower then the world average (15 per cent and 14 per cent than the US and China, respectively).
Factors contributing to the decline in energy intensity include improved energy efficiency, the increased use of renewable and nuclear power and enhanced public transport system and energy pricing reforms, the report said.
On the issue of climate change impact on society, agriculture production and food security, the report says that it will affect society through its adverse impact on the necessities and comforts of life, including water, food, energy, health, transportation, recreation and so on.
Vulnerability to climate change can be worsened by societal and human induced issues such as poverty, unequal access to resources, insecurity relating to food and the incidence of diseases.
The effect of climate change on rainfall, temperature and water availability for agriculture will result in huge losses in agricultural production, undermining efforts to reduce rural poverty.
The ill effects of malnutrition may rise phenomenally in coming decades, the report added.
Climate change will also result in drastic changes in run-off patterns and in glacial melting which is expected to add to the ecological crisis by having an adverse impact on supplies for irrigation and human settlements.
Central Asia, Northern China and the northern part of South Asia face an immense challenge with the retreat of glaciers at the rate of 10-15 m a year in the Himalayas, the report said.
Developing countries are expected to suffer the worst consequences of climate change because of their high levels of poverty and the limited capacity of their public health systems to respond.
Major killer diseases which proliferate in these countries could detrimentally impact millions of people exposed to them. Rich countries are already preparing to deal with extreme climate situations that are a result of climate change.
On the positive side, higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere could increase plant productivity and therefore improve the yield of some crops, the Assocham-E&Y report said. However, this may be more than compensated for by other factors like water shortage.