Estimate: India now has a Climate Debt

Estimate: India now has a Climate Debt


Annual updates of ‘CO2 Content in the atmosphere’ and Global Population affects the future CO2 Emission target per capita and thus the Contribution Free Level of all countries (in ClimatePositions). The updates by January 2015 lowered India’s Contribution Free Level just enough to reach an estimated climate debt of $0.68 per capita, or a total climate debt of $812 million – the 67th largest climate debt among 146 countries or 0.02% of the global climate debt.

The diagram below shows India’s CO2 Emissions 2000-2013 (estimates of 2013). The green bars are the Contribution Free Level after the latest updates. Note that the final data of CO2 Emissions per capita of 2013 might affect the calculation. Read more about India’s performance ‘here’.

India, CO2

Today, India is the 3rd largest CO2 emitter in the world after China and the United States. 67% of India’s energy production comes from coal (in 2012) – the worst CO2 polluter per energy unit. Coal India Limited is the publicly traded (investable) company holding the world’s largest reserves of potential CO2 Emissions from fossil fuels (if extracted and burned). A recent ‘study in Nature‘ suggest that, globally, over 80% of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2°C (also read the article ‘Divestment from Fossil Fuel Companies’).


Source on CO2 Emissions, coal production and total energy production: EIA, U.S. Energy Information Administration (data on preliminary national CO2 Emissions are from Global Carbon Project – links in the menu “Calculations”).
Drawing by Claus Andewrsen, 2015.

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