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Curious case of carbon emission: Should India curb development for the sake of West

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

India’s development dilemma centres around a basic calculation: the carbon emission for an average Indian is only marginally higher than the carbon dioxide produced in flying one passenger from Tokyo to San Francisco.

In other words, while a commonly-cited fact is that India, after China and the US, is the third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide – the main gas implicated in warming the planet – globally, there is, seemingly, enough data to absolve India of special responsibility.

 

Background to the debate

Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the atmosphere is at a record high at 404.11 parts per million (ppm), driving extreme weather events, including high temperature, storms and droughts, according to some studies. As IndiaSpend recently reported, the rainfall over rain-dependent India is becoming increasingly uncertain, unsettling the nation’s agriculture, economy and politics.

Recently it was alleged that  India’s overwhelming dependence on coal was the real reason for the government’s crackdown on the global NGO Greenpeace. Some said India’s dependence on coal would be disastrous. Others argued that doing away with coal would be equally disastrous.

 

To be coal-based or not?

Citing total emissions is misleading. India’s annual carbon dioxide emission is 1.93 billion tonnes, compared to 1.4 billion tonnes emitted by Japan, the world’s fifth-largest polluter. India’s emissions are spread among 1.27 billion people; Japan’s come from 127 million, a tenth of India’s population. On an average, a citizen of Japan is responsible for seven times as much carbon dioxide as an Indian.

Citizens of countries such as Britain, Germany, Canada and the US have a carbon footprint between five and 12 times that of an Indian. With one-sixth of the world’s population, India accounts for a twentieth of carbon emissions.

China and the US, with just less than one-quarter of world’s population, account for 44 percent of current CO2 emissions. Europe (with Russia) accounts for another 20 percent of emissions. India accounts for 5.5 percent. So, a vast majority of greenhouse gases are coming from the developed world plus China.

It is hard to ignore past responsibility. Per capita data are only part of the jigsaw. CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere has not been emitted only over the past couple of years or decades. It has been building up for more than 100 years, since the West started industrializing. The pace picked up over the past 50 years as incomes and consumption increased and many developing countries also started to grow.

Between 1965 and 2013, as much as 1.1 trillion tons of CO2 was emitted. Europe (including Russia) accounts for 33.3 percent of this total, while the US has a share of 24.3 percent. So, the West has been responsible for 57.6 percent of CO2 emitted over the past 48 years. If China and Japan are included, the combined share goes up to 76.2 percent, more than three-quarters of all carbon dioxide emissions over this period.

A small set of nations – Europe, US, China and Japan – has been responsible for global warming so far, and continues to account for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions. India’s contribution is relatively marginal and continues to remain 80 percent below the world average.

 

Is asking India to curb carbon emissions right?

As India develops, CO2 emissions will rise. The reasons for low per-capita emissions from India are obvious. As much as 25 percent of Indians still don’t have access to electricity. Automobile ownership in India is 13 vehicles per 1,000, compared to 439 in the US, 617 in Japan and 34 in China.

Indians fly less than nationals of other major economies – though India has the second-largest population, it is the ninth-largest aviation market. Britain, which has a population 1/20th of India sees more people flying annually. As India industrializes and incomes increase, more Indians will use electricity and drive vehicles and fly, leading to increased carbon emissions.

There is no feasible way of restricting carbon emissions – short of stopping use of all fossil fuels-coal, oil and natural gas. These three fuels account for 86.6 percent of the world energy consumption.

 

Dirty and desirable: The role of coal

Among the three major fossil fuels, coal is considered the dirtiest.

However, it is less than one-fourth the price of either oil or natural gas and more widely available. This is why coal is more widely used in lower-income countries such as India.

As incomes increase, countries try to move away from coal as the development trajectories of western Europe and the US indicate.

India is also world’s third-largest user of coal.

Coal is a major bugbear for a number of environmental organizations such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. This has lead to confrontations such as the ban on foreign funding for Greenpeace in India.

India accounts for just 8.5 percent of the world’s coal usage, while it has 17.5 percent of world’s people. China is the runaway leader, accounting for just over half the coal burnt globally.

 

India’s limited options

India has not been responsible for global carbon emissions in the past, and its current emissions are way below the needs of its population.

However, if India follows China’s route of development by burning more coal, the consequences for the planet – and India – are likely to be devastating. This will further worsen as other developing nations with large populations, such as Bangladesh, Nigeria and Pakistan, follow this route.

The argument goes that as a responsible nation, India needs to move away from coal and increase the use of low-pollution energy sources, mainly nuclear power, hydropower, natural gas and renewable energy.

The problem with these sources is that they are costlier than coal and not as easily available. In many cases, such as renewable energy and nuclear power, the technology isn’t freely available to India; much of it must be imported from the West.

If India chooses more expensive forms of energy over coal, it will contribute to global common good – at its own immediate economic cost.

(With inputs from IANS)

Next Story

Adobe Photoshop on iPad Provides New Opportunities to Youngsters in India

Adobe has also made it possible to import photos directly from your SD card or USB drive into the iOS version of Lightroom

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Although Adobe Photoshop on iPad was completely done in the US, the incremental syncing part was achieved in India. IANS

Thirty years and still going strong, Adobe Photoshop remains the most loved design tool for creators and professional designers. Now, iPad lovers in India are thrilled to try their hands on the software tool and let their imaginations fly.

Photoshop on iPad allows young users to craft composites with fingers and retouch images with Apple Pencil. Your PSDs will remain the same, whether you’re working on desktop or iPad.

Adobe Photoshop that arrived on iPads globally in November brings core compositing and retouching workflows to iPad.

For the millennials, this is a great opportunity to become a creative pro as Photoshop on iPad is an intuitive, more accessible entry point to the Adobe tool for new users.

It features full PSD (Photoshop document files) interoperability, a touch-based user interface (UI), Cloud document access, and the power to work on real-world, multi-layered creations.

“We’re excited to push the frontiers of creativity to make everyone more productive and express their creative vision — not only seasoned professionals, but also the next generation of designers, photographers, filmmakers and illustrators,” Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud, Adobe, told the gathering at the recently-concluded Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles.

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Thirty years and still going strong, Adobe Photoshop remains the most loved design tool for creators and professional designers. Now, iPad lovers in India are thrilled to try their hands on the software tool and let their imaginations fly. Pixabay

Open up full-size PSDs on your desktop or iPad and store them in the cloud – no conversion necessary.

You get the same fidelity, power, and performance no matter what device you’re working on, even when you’re designing with thousands of layers.

“Use quick gestures and touch shortcuts to make edits directly on your canvas and speed up your workflow. With context-aware user interface (UI), you display only the core tools and panes you need, so you can focus on your canvas, not the clutter,” says Adobe.

Next up is Adobe Illustrator which is slated to arrive on iPad next year. The teams at Adobe’s Noida R&D centre and Apple’s Cupertino-based headquarters in the US are busy finalizing and preparing for the final release of the much-anticipated product.

“We are already doing complete R&D for Illustrator and InDesign. The upcoming Illustrator on iPad, which has received rave reviews, is entirely being done at our Noida R&D centre,” Shanmugh Natarajan, MD and VP of Product at Adobe India, told IANS recently.

The company has previewed Adobe Illustrator’s future with a reimagined touch-based app that brings the precision and versatility of the desktop experience to iPad.

Although Adobe Photoshop on iPad was completely done in the US, the incremental syncing part was achieved in India.

Adobe has also made it possible to import photos directly from your SD card or USB drive into the iOS version of Lightroom. Previously, users had to import images to their camera roll, then copy them over into Lightroom’s library.

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Adobe Photoshop on iPad allows young users to craft composites with fingers and retouch images with Apple Pencil. Your PSDs will remain the same, whether you’re working on desktop or iPad. Pixabay

Here are the plans for Indian lovers who want Adobe experience on their iPads. The “Photography (20GB)” plan with Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop is available for Rs 676 a month (excluding GST). If you purchase this plan by January 31, you get Photoshop on iPad for free.

In the “Adobe Photoshop Single App” plan, get Photoshop on desktop and iPad as part of Creative Cloud for Rs 1,420.

ALSO READ: Use of Information Technology Can Save Police Personnel from Death in Line of Duty

For the “All Apps” plan, get Photoshop on desktop and iPad, plus the entire collection of creative apps for Rs 3,585.

Students and teachers can save over 60 per cent on the entire collection of Creative Cloud apps for just Rs 1,353. (IANS)