India's carbon emissions have fallen for the first time in four decades, said Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) researchers. The report by CREA lead analyst Lauri Myllyvirta and analyst Sunil Dahiya states that India's CO2 emissions fell 15 per cent in March and is estimated to fall by 30 per cent in April. "Emissions fell by around 1 per cent in the fiscal year ending March 2020, as coal consumption fell and oil consumption flatlined," said the researchers.
Myllyvirta and Dahiya stated that the decline in carbon emissions signifies the impact coronavirus has had on the economy. The researchers looked further into the sectors that has contributed most towards the decline:
COAL: The CREA research stated that coal-fired power generation fell 15 per cent in March and 31 per cent in the first three weeks of April. However, renewable energy generation increased 6.4 per cent in March and saw a slight decrease of 1.4 per cent in the first three weeks of April.
The report mentioned that the fall in demand also extends beyond the power sector and is evident in the coal supply data. Coal sales by Coal India Ltd fell 4.3 per cent in the year-ended March, while coal imports increased 3.2 per cent. This signifies that coal deliveries fell 2 per cent, states the report -- the first year-on-year fall in consumption in two decades.
In March coal sales fell 10 per cent while imports fell 27.5 per cent, signifying a decline in total deliveries by 15 per cent. The researchers stated that more coal was mined than sold indicating that demand was weaker.
OIL: Oil consumption fell 18 per cent on year in March 2020 amid the coronavirus lockdown. Consumption during the fiscal year only grew 0.2 per cent -- the slowest in 22 years -- on the back of slow demand growth earlier in the year and a dip in demand during lockdown.
Natural gas consumption increased 5.5 per cent in the first 11 months of the fiscal, stated the report. The researchers expect it to dip 15-20 per cent during the lockdown.
Crude oil production decreased by 5.9 per cent compared to the previous financial year, while natural gas production fell 5.2 per cent. Refinery production also fell by 1.1 per cent over the last financial year as against 2018-19.
Crude steel production dropped 22.7 per cent in March, the report stated, as compared to the previous month. Financial year 2019-20 saw a dip of 2.2 per cent as compared to the previous year.
CARBON EMISSIONS IN APRIL: The researchers stated that taking the above figures in mind they have estimated that CO2 emissions fell by 30 million tonnes in the fiscal year ending March -- the first annual decline in four decades.
As for the dip in carbon emissions in April, the researchers said that the estimates are based on power-sector emissions from daily generation data. They said that they have assumed that consumption fell as much in April as in March, which is a conservative estimate as the lockdown was in full force till the end of the month.
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