India Adds 190 MT of CO2 as Global Emissions Hit a Record in 2023: IEA Report

Extreme weather conditions and GDP growth pushed emissions up in India

March 5, 2024


India’s weakened monsoon spell, coupled with the country’s strong GDP growth, added nearly 190 million tons (MT) of CO2 to global emissions, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The country experienced warm and dry conditions in 2023, which were a consequence of the consistent occurrence of El Nino and its Indian Ocean counterpart — Indian Ocean Dipole –in the second half of 2023.

The country also experienced the driest August due to a reduction in monsoon showers, which increased electricity demand and reduced hydropower generation. This contributed to nearly one-fourth of the total emissions in 2023.

Despite this, the country’s per capita emissions fell below the global average.

The report attributed the rise in emissions to the energy-intensive economic growth that the country has embarked on in the post-pandemic years. While India achieved energy intensity improvements of around 2.8% annually, it experienced a slowdown in these improvements after the pandemic.

This, coupled with unfavorable weather conditions, pushed emissions.

Global emissions

The world’s carbon emissions from energy-related activities grew by 1.1% or 410 MT in 2023 to 37.4 billion tons (GT), with coal accounting for over 65% of this increase.

Between 2019 and 2023, total energy-related emissions increased around 900 MT. Without the growing deployment of five key clean energy technologies since 2019 – solar PV, wind, nuclear, heat pumps, and electric cars – the growth of emissions would have been three times larger.

Thanks to growing clean energy deployment, emissions are seeing a structural slowdown. In the decade to 2023, global emissions grew slightly more than 0.5% per year, the slowest rate since the Great Depression, the report said.

In 2022, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by under 1%, which was lower than initially expected, the IEA had said.

Global Emissions 2023

China Largest Contributor

China was the largest contributor to CO2 emissions, as the country alone accounted for 565 MT in 2023. This was due to the country’s emissions-intensive economic growth in the post-pandemic period. However, the report also found that China continued to dominate the global clean energy additions.

The hydropower generation affected by droughts increased the emissions from global electricity by 170 MT. China’s hydropower generation fell by 4.9%, which was the worst decline in the last two decades. This accounted for nearly two-thirds of the global reduction in hydropower generation last year.

Significant drought conditions in North America and a year of below-average rainfall between 2022 and 2023 in China accentuated the renewable energy deficit.

Further, emissions from advanced economies were lower than they were 50  years ago and fell by 4.5% in 2023. This is due to the countries’ emissions having structurally declined since 2007.