November 23, 2015

Hold Your Ground in Paris

Vivek Dehejia, in this fortnighly column writes about India's stance in the upcoming twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 


He writes "In theory, India’s plan is ambitious, pledging to reduce the intensity of GHG emissions by up to 35% by 2030, upping the ante on a previous commitment to reduce up to 25% by 2020. India has also committed to altering its energy mix to ensure up to 40% of electricity is produced from non-fossil fuel sources, again by 2030, and again building on prior domestic commitments. Significantly, unlike China, in its submission, India does not indicate a peaking year for its emissions, just a targeted reduction in the intensity of emissions, which allows emissions to continue growing, so long as they grow by less than the rate of economic growth, so that the ratio of GHG emissions to gross domestic product (GDP) falls....

Having been already outflanked in global trade negotiations by a US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that India could not, and wisely did not, sign, it yet again risks isolation and being painted by the US and other advanced economies as playing the spoiler if it stands its ground. But stand our ground we must. As I argued more recently in this space, tying our hands by signing up to excessively stringent mitigation targets—while it would presumably play well with civil society and in the media—would be harmful, if not downright disastrous, for India’s already precarious growth prospects. The politically incorrect reality is that growth is a dirty business, until future technological discoveries, which at this moment are the stuff of science fiction, make it possible to delink economic activity from human impact on the climate. Until then, economic growth will be energy-intensive, and India’s GHG emissions will perforce continue to rise, even as intensity falls due to a changing energy mix and incremental technological improvement".


Topic : State Capacity / In : OP-EDS
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