Overview of carbon emissions produced by India
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What percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions does India produce?

India produces 7% of global emissions, and has been ranked the world’s 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases since 1990. Since this date, their annual emissions have increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3%.

Summary – GHG Emissions in India

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$3.17tr
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 20193.36bn
Change in Emissions since 20180.1%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2019)7%
Rank – Emitters in 20193
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 199061.2bn
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 19904.3%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2019)5.3%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$2.28k
Emissions Per Capita2.4
641ce7ec13245d951bd70984 India and ten largest%2520emitters since 1990

In the last recorded year (2019), India was the world’s 3rd largest producer of yearly carbon dioxide emissions and contributed 7% of all global emissions. Other countries with a large amount of emissions in the same period include China, the United States, and Indonesia. These three nations produced 25.2%, 12%, and 4.1% of global emissions respectively.

641ce7ec13245df8b5d70983 India change in emissions 1990 to present

In 2019, India emitted 3.36bn metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. This represented an increase in emissions from 2018 by 0.1%.

Emissions per capita in India – average household carbon footprint

The population of India is 1.39bn. On a per capita basis, they produce 2.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per person. This places them 148th out of 191 on emissions produced per capita. The top three emitters per capita are Solomon Islands, Qatar, and Kuwait.

What is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in India?

In 2019, India produced 3.39bn metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This was an increase of 0.18% from 2018. 72.4% of these emissions came from CO2, 19.3% came from CH4, and 7.7% came from N2O.

The sector that produced the most emissions in 2019 was the energy industry. Energy produced 2.42bn of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounted to 71.3% of total GHG in India. The second and third largest emitting sectors were agriculture and industrial processes- producing 21.2% and 5% of total GHG respectively.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the electricity/heat sector, emitting 1.24bn tonnes of greenhouse gas. The second and third largest emitting sectors were manufacturing/construction and transportation – producing 581m and 316m tonnes of GHG each.

Land Use Change and Forestry

Land use change and forestry (LUCF), such as deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural or urban areas, can have a significant impact on carbon emissions.

  • Trees and other vegetation absorb and store carbon through the process of photosynthesis, and when they are cut down or burned, that stored carbon is released into the atmosphere.
  • Deforestation and other forms of land use change can also reduce the ability of ecosystems to absorb and store carbon in the future. Additionally, the conversion of land for agriculture or urban development can lead to the release of carbon stored in the soil.
  • On the other hand, sustainable forestry practices, such as reforestation and afforestation, can help to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in trees and other vegetation.

In the case of India, their LUCF had a positive impact on their emissions, reducing their footprint by 31.3m tonnes.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse emissions in India in 2019 was 3.36bn metric tonnes.

Is there a correlation between greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth?

In 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) in India grew by 4.8% from the previous year. Measured in US dollars, the economy went from $2.7tr to $2.83tr. In the same period carbon emissions increased by 0.09%. Over a ten year period from 2009 to 2019, GDP grew by 111%, while emissions have increased by 37.9%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate of GDP in India over the previous ten years was 7.8% and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was 3.3%.

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