New Delhi: The per capita greenhouse gas emissions are expected to nearly triple in the next two decades, but will still remain below the current global average, a government-backed report said.
The data released late on Wednesday showed the current per capita rate at around 1.2 tonnes per year, compared to the global average of 4.22 tonnes.
Five different studies released by independent institutions concluded that India’s per capita emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent would reach 2.1 tonnes in 2020 and 3.5 tonnes in 2030.
The per capita output is one of the lowest globally, but given its massive population it is one of the top polluters in the world.
Speaking at the launch, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said the data would help to inform debate at global climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.
“India should be seen to be part of the solution,” he said.
But Ramesh cautioned that the numbers were “open to peer review” and that the government did not agree with all of them.
The studies found that the country’s total emissions are estimated to reach between four billion and 7.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2031.
India has long rejected binding carbon emission targets on the grounds that they would hinder economic growth and development.
More than 180 nations are due to negotiate an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty in Copenhagen in December.
Ramesh reiterated a promise by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the per capita emissions would never exceed those of developed nations, but credited energy efficiency options rather than mitigation strategies for the projections.