Contribution of Urbanization to Emissions: Case of Guwahati City, India

Part of the Water Science and Technology Library book series (WSTL, volume 84)


The focus of research over the years has been mostly on industrial greenhouse gas emissions. While there has been an extensive analysis of the drivers of aggregate CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production, analysis of the drivers of greenhouse gases emissions from agriculture, forestry, and other land uses which are also known as non-industrial emissions are limited (Sanchez and Stern in Ecol Econ 124:17–24, 2016). Agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) represents 20–24% of the global GHG emissions, the largest emitting sector next to energy. In Asia, the AFOLU sector is important and accounts for the largest proportion of global AFOLU emissions. India is the world’s fourth largest economy and fifth largest global GHG emitter. The net AFOLU emissions in India were 146.7 million tCO2e, accounting for about 11% of its net national emissions. The agricultural emissions were 355.6 million tCO2e, accounting for 23% of gross national emissions and 96% of gross AFOLU emissions in the same year. AFOLU is not the largest emitter in India. The forestry and other land use (FOLU) is, on the other hand, an important sink with net removals of 236 million tCO2e as reported in 2000. Cities and towns have been found to be settled after clearing large areas under forest cover in Assam. The present study examines the non-Industrial (AFOLU) emissions in the city of Guwahati. This study analyses 100 years trend (1911–2015) of deforestation and conversion of forests to settlements, wetlands and agricultural land and fuelwood burning within the city limits. The area values of AFOLU sectors were computed from maps and satellite images. Emission factor (EF) values were obtained from available literature to study the AFOLU emissions in the city. The findings indicate that the share of deforestation in CO2 emission increased from 49% in 1911 to 85% in 2011, and contributed almost 0.91 tCO2 per capita to the total emissions. Past 100 years average AFOLU emission per capita for Guwahati was found to be 1.81 tCO2 against 1.03 tCO2 for the last 50-year average. The results would be useful for policymakers given the fact that the city of Guwahati is one of the 100 cities in India that has been taken up for the smart city project presently underway in the country. Moreover, the results of the study would also be useful for further research and decision-making for achieving the SDG 11.


Ecological economics Carbon emission AFOLU Urbanization Source and sink Ecosystem services 



The authors wish to acknowledge the Forest Department, the Assam Electronics Development Corporation Ltd. (AMTRON) and the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority for providing secondary data including maps and reports. The authors also wish to thank the GIS consultants and experts who helped with the maps and satellite image analysis. The authors are also grateful to the anonymous referees. The authors are also very thankful to the ENSURE 2012 organizers who provided an opportunity for presenting the findings in the Workshop, as well as allowing the authors to update the results for publication.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia

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