India and climate change

india flagClimate change has become the major global challenge of this young century. For years, the search for solutions has run against a sharp North ­South divide over the historical emissions of developed countries and the parameters of what is termed, in the climate world, “common but differentiated responsibility” for developing nations. A common appreciation of climate

and economic equity between disparate countries and regions remains both critical and challenging for the global climate negotiations process if it is to culminate in a major deal in Paris in 2015, and for implementation beyond that date. The authors believe that the only way to remove this roadblock is to forge an “India exception” in global climate talks; doing so is the only realistic pathway to a global climate deal, and could be a key tool in cementing stronger ties between India and the United States, two critical actors in the evolving international order.

Negotiators from India came to international climate talks in Paris this month walking a tightrope. On one hand, officials wanted to show that the world’s fourth ­biggest carbon emitter was ready to play a constructive role in international climate negotiations. On the other hand, negotiators needed to show citizens back home that addressing climate change would not detract from development goals—particularly the need to bring power to the quarter of the population that goes without it. “The presentation is just really different from what we saw earlier,” says Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, of the country’s negotiating stance at Paris. Their message has become: “We can be flexible, we just need help getting where we want to go.” India needs to sign onto whatever deal negotiators reach in Paris for the agreement to have legitimacy, given its importance in the global economy and its sheer size. Analysts expect the country of 1.2 billion people to continue to rise in the rankings of top emitters as its economy grows and a greater share of its population gains access to electricity. “India is sometimes the man in the middle,” said Anjali Jaiswal, director of the India Initiative at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “India’s role here at the [conference] is often bridging the many nations across the world and also bridging development with climate action.”

from The Time and Brookings

proposed by Aditya B.