Greenhouse gas emissions in Chandigarh to rise by 200% in 2020: Study
Chandigarh, which has the highest vehicle density in the county, is projected to increase climate-damaging greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions by almost 200% from 2,486 Gg (Giga grams, the unit of emission) to 4,014 Gg by 2020, according to a recent study.
The study published last month in a reputed international journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research was conducted by investigators from PGI, IIT, Roorkee, and Panjab University (PU). It implies that the released gases (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide) from the vehicles would raise the temperature of the city in another three years.
Dr Suman Mor from the department of environment studies, PU, had supervised the study that comes at a time when the Delhi government has already declared a public health emergency due to the smog by a student from IIT Roorkee. She said, “We wanted to have a baseline data of greenhouse gases as there is a high vehicle-density in Chandigarh. These gases contribute to global warming and affect climate in the long-term.”
The study found that four-wheelers were the main culprit. Also, an additional 173 Gg load of greenhouse gases has been projected if all diesel buses would be transformed to CNG by 2020. “CNG is a clean alternate fuel. It was also found that fuel transition from diesel to CNG cannot be considered as a clean technology, as there has been a huge increase in the GHG load, 173 Gg. However, there is a need to study the load of other air pollutants with GHGs to study their overall effect on climate change for better policy making,” said Dr Ravindra Khaiwal, School of Public Health, PGI.
This is the first such research to evaluate vehicular pollution in the city in the context of greenhouse gases. The study concluded that increasing private vehicle population because of rising per capita income might be one of the reasons for the rise in GHGs.
Estimated greenhouse gases (GHGs) — CO, N2O, and CO2 — emission from motor vehicles in Chandigarh has increased more than two times from 1,065 Gg (unit of emission) in 2005 to 2,486 Gg by 2011. It is expected to increase to 4,014 Gg in 2020
An increase of 173 Gg in GHG load is projected if all diesel buses are transformed to CNG by 2020 in Chandigarh
GHG load from transport sector has increased from 366 Gg in 2000 to 2,486 Gg in 2011, more than fivefold in a decade. It also reveals that CO2 consists of 85% of total GHG load in 2000 and increased up to 90% in 2011.
The study has estimated that GHG emissions from transport sector in Chandigarh are expected to rise by 4,015 Gg by 2020 from almost 61% of 2011 emissions
Four-wheelers and buses are major contributors of greenhouse gases, though the number of buses is less but the GHG load from them is quite high
In 2001, 88% of GHG load was from two-wheelers (2-stroke engine-based), which reduced to 83% in 2011 due to their number being reduced from 76% in 2001 to 60% due to introduction of efficient 2-wheelers.
Higher GHG emissions from four-wheeler diesel vehicles were observed than gasoline-powered vehicles as emission factor for diesel vehicles is 1.5 times than gasoline-powered vehicles in case of CO2
As Chandigarh has mainly diesel vehicles, hence, the GHG load from 3-wheelers is mainly due to diesel-powered 3-wheelers. But, from 2009 onward, the share of the GHG load from LPG-driven 3-wheelers showed a significant rise from 3% in 2009 to 20% in 2011, which is due to increase in number of 3-wheelers
Two wheelers| 2,76,179
Government should promote public transport through awareness programmes
Alternate transportation modes like Metro trains, fuel transition, and other cleaner fuel technologies must be introduced.
While implementing a change in vehicle technology, CO2 emissions must be considered. Replacing diesel with CNG alone is not a good option for reducing greenhouse gases.