India is the world's fourth largest economy and fifth largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, accounting for about 5% of global emissions. India's emissions increased 65% between 1990 and 2005 and are projected to grow another 70% by 2020. By other measures, India's emissions are low compared to those of other major economies. India accounts for only 2% of cumulative energy-related emissions since 1850. On a per capita basis, India's emissions are 70% below the world average and 93% below those of the United States.
India remains home to the world's largest number of poor people, with nearly 35% living on less than a dollar a day. Its economy is growing rapidly, however, with GDP rising about 8% a year over the past five years. As the economy has grown, emissions intensity (GHGs per unit of GDP) has declined significantly. India's GHG intensity is currently 20% lower than the world average (and 15% and 40% lower than the United States' and China's, respectively). Factors contributing to the decline in energy intensity include improved energy efficiency, increased use of renewable and nuclear power, expanded public transport, and energy pricing reform.
With rapid economic growth, rising income, and greater availability of goods and services, energy demand rose 68% between 1990 and 2005, about 3.5% annually. The government projects energy demand growth of 5.2% a year for the next 25 years, driven by annual GDP growth rates of 8-10%.
Coal accounts for 39% of total primary energy demand, followed by biomass and waste (29%), oil (25%) and natural gas (5%). The high proportion of biomass and waste reflects the fact that some 500 million people have no access to electricity or other modern energy services. Coal is projected to remain the primary energy source, with demand growing nearly three-fold by 2030.
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