India’s carbon dioxide emissions have fallen year-on-year for the first time in four decades, and its residents are able to enjoy cleaner air and clearer skies.
But although the country’s pandemic lockdown has greatly steepened the reduction of CO2 emissions … it isn’t the sole cause of it.
India’s demand for fossil fuels has been decreasing before the coronavirus pandemic started, according to a study by the environmental website, Carbon Brief. India’s falling economy and competition from renewable energy generation are big factors to this developing story.
According to the study, carbon dioxide emissions fell 15% in March and are likely to have fallen by 30% in April. Most of this drop off was due to less demand in coal-fired energy.
India’s oil consumption was down 18% year-on-year in March 2020. Meanwhile, renewable energy supply has been increasing and has held up in the pandemic.
One of the reasons coal is taking a big decline in electricity demand is that it costs more to run on a daily basis. Thermal power stations — powered by coal, gas, and oil — require continual fuel purchases to generate power. In contrast, operating costs are very low for solar and wind solutions once they are installed, giving them priority on electricity grids.
Many believe that emissions will soar again once the pandemic ends as countries around the world begin to kick-start their economies … but Carbon Brief suggests that India may go against that trend.
India’s financial woes in the coal sector have influenced the government to look at renewable energy solutions as a big part of the recovery strategy. Renewables offer far cheaper electricity than coal, and are consistent with India’s National Clean Air Programme, which was launched in 2019.
Because of these findings, there is hope in India that they may continue to see improving air and clearer skies in the future.
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(Cover image: V.S.Anandhakrishna/Shutterstock)