India was the fourth biggest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2014, at 2.6 billion tones, contributing 7.2 per cent of the world's emissions, as per the research at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project.
While China emerged as the biggest emitter of CO2 in 2014, at 9.7 billion tones, contributing 27 per cent of the world's total, and expected to strongly influence the global emissions over the next decade.
As per the study, India's emissions today match those of China in 1990 and per capita emissions continue to be well below the global average at 2.0 tonnes of CO2 each year. It pointed out that India's challenge is the need to provide 1.3 billion people with greater access to energy and if present trends persist, India's emissions will match those of the EU in 2-3 years.
For global CO2 emissions to peak and decline quickly, part of India's new energy needs must come from low-carbon technologies.
The research reveals that emissions could decline by 0.6 per cent this year. While declines in emissions have previously occurred during periods of economic crisis, this would be the first decline during a period of strong global economic growth.
Corinne Le Quere, Director of the Tyndall Centre at UEA who led the data analysis, said, "Global emissions need to decrease to near zero to achieve climate stabilisation. We are still emitting massive amounts of CO2 annually - around 36 billion tonnes from fossil fuels and industry alone. There is a long way to near zero emissions."
The study pointed out that the US was the second biggest emitter of CO2 in 2014, releasing 5.6 billion tones, 15 per cent of the world's total emissions and the EU was the third biggest emitter of CO2 in with 3.4 billion tonnes contributing (10 per cent of the world's total.
Emissions in the US have declined by 1.4 per cent annually over the last decade. This decline is projected to continue through 2015.