Study analysed link between population density and emissions from vehicles across the districts in the country 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. However this didn’t effectively apply to developing countries, the authors argue. 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 emissions, said the study, to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters. 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%, according to data from the Global Carbon Project. Fuel price hikes aren’t always a solution to curb emissions, the study says. With a Rs. 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,” say the authors Sohail Ahmad and Felix Creutzig, who are at the University of Glasgow and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Berlin, respectively. “In total, India’s transport patterns are very climate friendly, and much better than those of Europe and the United States. We find that some districts are mostly relying on three-wheelers for short commuting distances, while others are highly urban, rich, and rely on cars,” Creutzig said in an email.