Jammu and Kashmir is adding 1.45 million tonnes of Green House Gases (GHG) annually to atmosphere as its dwindling forests are able to absorb only 10.21 million tonnes of such gases out of the total emissions of 11.66 million tonnes, a government report on CO2 emissions has revealed.
The "Report on Emission Inventory of CO2 in Jammu and Kashmir – A Sectoral Analysis in 2013-14" has presented an alarming picture of deterioration of environment, unplanned development and steady decrease of forest cover. The report has put Jammu and Kashmir among the polluting states despite absence of major industries and higher living standards.
The report published by Majid Farooq, Coordinator/Pr. Investigator Climate Change Centre under National Mission for Sustainable Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) and a team of scientists from J&K Climate Change Centre, Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing has made a detailed study of emission of GHGs by various sectors in the state.
According to report, "The net GHG emissions from J&K, that is emissions from Energy, Agriculture, Livestock and wastes have been calculated to be 11663.89 thousand tons of CO2 equivalents (eq) in 2013-14. Out of this, CO2 emissions were 5141.81 thousand tons; CH4 emissions were 264.20 thousand tons; and N2O emissions were 3.1410 thousand tons."
The study include other greenhouse gases too and are measured in terms of their carbon dioxide equivalence, as per IPCC guidelines. With the publication of the report, Jammu and Kashmir has earned the distinction of being one of the few states of having conducted inventory of GHGs.
The report reveals that average CO2 emission per person in J&K is 0.9 tons per year whereas the average figure for India is 1.6 tons.
Unlike other places where the biggest contributor to GHG emissions are industries, in Jammu and Kashmir 55.38 % of GHGs are emitted by agriculture sector. "The largest percentage of GHG emissions (55.38 %) is from the Agriculture sector followed by Energy, LULUCF ( Land Use Land Use Change & Forestry) and Waste sectors. Within the Agriculture sector, 60.80 % of total CO2 eq were emitted from Enteric Fermentation while the manure Animal waste/Dung sector contributed to 11.72 % of the total CO2 eq." the report says.
"We have a huge livestock and most of which is not reared on latest scientific methods. The methods of rearing, their diet and the manure/dung production, everything contributes to GHG emissions," said Majid.
Regarding the forests, the report says, "The net CO2 emissions/removal estimate shows that the sector (forests) is a net sink as the net sequestration from the sector is 8872.40 thousand tons CO2. This sector added 1339.2 Gg CO2 to and removed 10211.209 Gg CO2 from the atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir. In this sector major part of CO2 is removed by Forest Land followed by Crop Land."
"The loss of CO2 is largely due to extraction and use of fuel wood from felling of trees which is not very significant. The net CO2 emissions / removal estimate shows that the sector is a net sink of 8872.40 (000' tons) CO2. The sector is a net sink due to uptake of CO2 by forest land followed by cropland. This is a preliminary estimate and may change with improved activity data and emission factor estimates," the report further adds.
About the condition of forests, the report says "Based on data from Forest Survey of India (FSI, 2013). It can be observed that forest area has marginally decreased, whereas the net sown (cropped) area has increased. The grassland area has also decreased."
Regarding other polluting sectors the report says "The energy sector in Jammu and Kashmir emitted 3869.24 Gg of CO2 during the year 2013- 14. The transport sector emitted 44.69 % of the total GHGs, and is the largest contributor in the Energy sector. Second largest emitter of CO2 is residential sector with 30.38 % contribution to total emission from Energy sector. The residential sector is spread both as urban and rural thus uses both fossil fuels and biomass products."