• Urbanisation is accelerating greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in India at a faster than in China.
  • On an average, an Indian emitted about 20 kg per capita while commuting for work, with the highest (140 kg CO2) in Gurugram district (Haryana) and the lowest (1.8 kg CO2) in Shrawasti district (Uttar Pradesh), says a study that analysed the link between population density and emissions from transport, across India’s districts.
  • The experience in most developed countries was that urbanisation led to a reduction in emissions — more urbanisation meant shorter distances between the workplace and home and thereby, a preference for public transport.
  • In China a 1% increase in urbanisation was linked with a 0.12% increase in CO2 emissions whereas, in India, it translated into 0.24% increase in emission
  • India’s CO2 emission grew by an estimated 4.6% in 2017 and its per-capita emission was about 1.8 tonnes.
  • In spite of being the 4th largest emitter, India’s per capita emissions are much lower than the world average of 4.2 tonnes.
  • But those emissions have been growing steadily, with an average growth rate over the past decade of 6%.
  • With a ₹1 increase in diesel price, commuting emissions decreased by 11% in some districts whereas it only fell by about 3% in low-income districts.
  • Given these districts have least commuting emissions and low socio-economic status our study finds limited support for increasing gasoline prices as a strategy to mitigate commuting emissions
  • In total, India’s transport patterns are very climate friendly, and much better than those of Europe and the United States.
  • Delhi had the highest commuting emissions per capita — a factor that also contributed to its high level of pollution — and the national capital region had 2.5 times higher commuting emissions than Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.
  • Delhi’s higher socio-economic status and heavy reliance on private travel modes led to higher commuting emissions than in other megacities.
  • Because there were several instances of districts with similar population density but varying per capita emissions, a “simple-minded densification” was an inappropriate policy for reducing commuters’ GHG emissions and India would do well to focus on electric vehicles and and efficient public transit system.