For the first time in four decades, India's carbon dioxide emissions fell in 2019-2020, said an analysis by Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air analysts Lauri Myllyvirta and Sunil Dahiya on the environmental website, Carbon Brief. The analysis also pointed out that the fall steepened in March 2020, due to the lockdown measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the study, in the fiscal year ending March, emissions likely dropped by 1.4 per cent, slowing demand for coal and oil over the previous 12 months. Due to the lockdown, the emissions reduced further and fell 15 per cent in March and 30 per cent in April.
"As with the global CO2 impact of the pandemic, the longer-term outlook for India's emissions will be shaped, to a significant degree, by the government response to the crisis," the study said.
"While the current crisis is having a significant impact on India's CO2 emissions in the short term, it could also influence the longer-term trajectory of India's energy use and emissions," it added.
Due to the coronavirus lockdown, India's electricity demand, as well as oil consumption, saw a steep fall.
The study states that while thermal power generation grew by an average of 7.5 per cent per year over the preceding decade, coal-fired power generation fell 15 per cent in March and 31 per cent in the first three weeks of April, according to data from the national grid.
In the fiscal year ending March 2020, total coal deliveries were down by around 2 per cent, indicating 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.
Meanwhile, renewable energy (RE) generation increased by 6.4 per cent in March and fell by 1.4 per cent in the first three weeks of April.
As is the case with electricity demand, India's oil consumption has also been slowing down since early 2019.
"This is now compounded by the dramatic impact of the Covid-19 lockdown measures on transport oil consumption. During the national lockdown, oil consumption fell 18 per cent on year in March 2020," the study said.
"As a result of low demand due to the coronavirus outbreak and already slower demand growth earlier in the year, consumption during the fiscal grew at 0.2 per cent, the slowest in at least 22 years. Natural gas consumption increased 5.5 per cent in the first 11 months of the fiscal year, but is expected to fall by 15-20 per cent during the lockdown," the study added.Also Read: Over 2 Crore Baby Olive Ridley Turtles Make Their Way To Sea After Hatching In Odisha