Analysis of the Effects of Population Growth: INDIA
Developing countries are described as countries with high dependency levels, low per capita income, and high population growth rates. This paper focuses on the latter feature, including high population growth rates in the analysis of global warming and environmental impacts. Population growth is a significant contributing factor for global warming due to the increased consumption pressures resulting from continuous population growth in developing countries (LeDoux, 2009). The paper uses India as the focal point of this analysis, one of the countries with the highest population of about 1.366B people (2nd largest globally), a growth rate of 0.99% (WB, Population, total – India, 2020), and third global emitter of GHGs as of 2019 (Timperley, 2019).
For an in-depth analysis and comprehensive discussion, the paper is divided into three main sections; the first section involves a detailed background on greenhouses gases and their relation to global warming. The second section explains problems associated with increased greenhouse emissions in India. The third section outlines climate change policies developed in India in the prevention, reduction, and intervention of the menace. The paper discusses industrial processes, energy issues, presence of high waste levels, and changes in land-use and forestry as the primary causes of GHG emissions. Solutions discussed include increased climate change finance initiatives, development of mitigation strategies and policies in effective waste management, energy, land-use and forestry, and carbon print maintenance (Das & Chandra, 2016).
Section I: Background
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are gases and particulate matter in the atmosphere capable of trapping or absorbing infrared radiation and heat and then re-radiating it back into the earth’s surface, resulting in a greenhouse effect. As a result, the greenhouse effect causes the warming up of the earth’s atmosphere through which a gradual increase in these temperatures results in global warming. As the levels of gases and particulate matter increases in the air, so do the temperatures.
Section II: How Emissions Causes Problems for the Developing World
According to the UNEP in an Emission Gap Report 2019, countries with the highest HGHs emissions in the order of the highest were the USA, China, and India (UNEP, 2019). India faces numerous challenges ranging from economic to security and political related to GHGs emissions. In India, temperatures keep rising; intense heat waves experienced, floods and droughts have resulted in related public health problems such as strokes, malnutrition due to decreased food, and diarrhea or water-related diseases. These diseases have affected a sizeable Indian population, thus affected labor productivity and performance in industries. This has adversely affected the Indian economy by decreasing its product number, GDP, exports, and imports. Besides, these GHGs effects have resulted in decreased agricultural production, affecting productive assets of trade, increased poverty among people dependent on agriculture, and reduced trading products (WB, India: Climate Change Impacts, 2013).
GHG emissions and related consequences affect Indian’s national, energy, and food security, as well as increased intra and inter-state conflicts that are resource-based. Environmental scarcity results in decreased agricultural productivity minimize the equitable acquisition, reliability, affordability, and sufficiency of food, hence presenting food insecurities. This results in people fighting for the available minimal food within and across the borders for survival (Bisht, 2012). Moreover, as low productivity increases, so do the income, which increases poverty levels increasing susceptibility to resource-based conflicts. A significant group in India facilitating resource-based conflicts are the Naxalites and Marxist rebels. Naxalite movement, also known as famine raids in Andhra Pradesh, mobilizes, and leads tribal groups to loot rice mills during hard periods of drought (Wischnatha & Buhaug, 2014). Poverty and environmental scarcity make people migrate across borders, which presents another source of interstate conflicts due to migration and refugees. The presence of such riots and conflicts, whether within or across borders, results in national insecurity threatening law and order. Energy security is profoundly affected due to decreased transmission and generation of power. In India, urban migration is increasing as industrialization profoundly peaks, making urban areas congested and rising electricity consumption. However, as the temperatures rise highly, power generation reduces, providing a chance for unrest and insecurity in urban areas and companies. These challenges contribute to the increased political problems associated with GHGs emissions, further complicating the development of effective policies on re-allocation, and budgeting.
Section III: Causes of Greenhouse Gases and Solutions to the Problems Greenhouse Gases Cause
In India, two primary causes of GHG emissions include increased activities in the coal power plants and agriculture, especially in rice cultivation and paddies. Agriculture accounts for 16% of GHG emissions, and out of this, 74% includes methane produced from livestock during rice cultivation and 26% from fertilizers (Timperley, 2019). India is the 2nd largest coal producer and consumer, hence, the activities account for about 3Gt of carbon dioxide and other GHGs. Potential solutions for these two problems include implemented effective coal, energy, agriculture, and livestock management policies. The Indian government has placed pledges to reduce its carbon footprint in these sectors. This will be achieved through increased financial initiatives and increased budget allocation to facilitate GHG emission reduction and climate change policy implementation.
Solutions enacted by the Indian government to contain coal GHG related include making emission reduction confinements, standards, developing e-mobility plans, and using clean or low-carbon energy such as solar and wind energy. Agricultural and livestock mitigation strategies and policies include adopting sustainable farming approaches, as many of the Indian population rely on agriculture and livestock for their sources of income (Timperley, 2019). These strategies include promoting low methane projects on rice production, supporting crop diversification other than the dominant rice, educating on chemical-free farming manners, and finally conducting soil health pilot test projects.
As seen above, India has a large population that must be fed and provided with equitable, affordable, and sufficient resources; otherwise, they risk inter and intra-state conflicts and national insecurities. A high population such as India has resulted in increased environmental scarcity as people and industries fight for resources and raw materials. This results in pressures in industries, coal production, overutilization of high-carbon energies, and high nitrous oxide fertilizers, to increase production and resource support. However, the presence of a manageable population means equitable, ample, and accessible resources with minimized pressures and environmental scarcity. Population control can result in decreased GHG emissions, as for every added individual, an increment of carbon emissions is seen.
India is one of the most affected developing countries by GHGs, global warming, and climate change. Moreover, it inhabits the second largest population globally, which plays a vital role in GHGs emissions. Primary causes of GHGs are sourced from industrial processes, energy, presence of high waste levels, and changes in land-use and forestry. Solutions include increased climate change finance initiatives, mitigation strategies, and policies in effective waste management, energy, land-use and forestry, and carbon print maintenance.
Bisht, T. (2012). Energy Security and Climate Change Challenges: India’s Dilemma and Policy Responses. In S. J. Anceschi L., Energy Security in the Era of Climate Change. Energy, Climate and the Environment Series (pp. 111-125). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Das, & Chandra, R. (2016). Handbook of Research on Global Indicators of Economic and Political Convergence. New York: IGI Global.
LeDoux, L. (2009, July 29). Does Population Growth Impact Climate Change? Retrieved from THE SCIENCES: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/population-growth-climate-change/
Timperley, J. (2019, March 14). The Carbon Brief Profile: India. Retrieved from Carbon Brief: https://www.carbonbrief.org/the-carbon-brief-profile-india
UNEP. (2019). Emissions Gap Report 2019. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.
Wischnatha, G., & Buhaug, H. (2014). Rice or riots: On food production and conflict severity across India. Political Geography, Vol 43, pp; 6-15.
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