Tag Archives: Environment

Will India Play Constructive Role in Climate Talks?

IPCC Climate Change 2015 Synthesis ReportThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Fifth Assessment in 2014, summarizing the work of thousands of scientists across the world.  The message was, in the panel’s own words, “unequivocal”.   Climate change will exacerbate poverty in most developing countries.  This is due to a complex range of factors, but particularly food price increases.  It notes that, in the years since its previous report in 2007, there have been rapid food price increases, following climate extremes in key producing systems.

A similar picture emerges on health.  A study, by The Lancet and University College London, stated that climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.  Climate change influences disease patterns, food, water, sanitation, extreme events, shelter and human settlements, which in turn affect health outcomes. Infant mortality is closely linked to under nutrition and food insecurity, both affected by climate change.

Reducing carbon emissions will help to mitigate these effects; meanwhile, there are economic, health and social opportunities in low carbon development pathways.   Decentralized low carbon energy, for example, such as solar and wind, can provide electricity for the 70 per cent of sub-Saharan Africans who currently have no access.  Growth in off grid solar has given 2.5 million households in Kenya access to energy.

Paris 2015 COP21 CMP11The Paris Summit in December 2015 provides a crucial opportunity for India to lead, aligning development goals with action on climate change, and given the discussions around the Sustainable Development Goals.   196 countries will meet to sign a new climate change agreement, which needs to acknowledge the importance of climate change mitigation to development and the necessity of finance, both to adapt to climate change and to invest in low carbon economic pathways.  But how likely is it that it will be meaningful and make a difference to climate action on the ground?

India Must Carefully Consider Strategic Response to U.S. – China Climate Accord

 Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama seen here during a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing announced pledges to reduce greenhouse gases on November 12. Photo source Huang Jingwen Xinhua LandovThe new targets for carbon emissions reductions agreed on by the United States and China at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, is important for understanding the risks and strategic responses to global climate change (GCC).

President Barack Obama announced the United States commitment to emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005 (double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020).  President Xi Jinping pledged to boost the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to around 20 percent by 2030.  Other plans include one initiative that aims to reduce pollution by cities, and another that encourages trade in “green goods” and environmentally clean technology.

A key component of the GCC’s political strategy has been to engage in a public debate over the science of climate change (Levy and Rothenberg, 2002).   Organizational scholars conceptualize that responsiveness to institutional pressures as a strategic choice (Goodstein, 1994), are based on assumptions and forecasts that arise within an institutional environment.   In particular – causes, constituents, content, control, and context – are considered forces motivating strategic responsiveness to institutional pressures.

The Climate Accord expresses with greater certainty the fact that aggregate economic losses accelerate with increasing temperature, though global economic impacts from climate change are currently difficult to estimate.   Now, there will be strong pressure on India, Brazil and other large developing countries to make a move.  The government of India must carefully consider its strategic response, as whether to follow the principles of this deal, or take the climate talks in a new direction.