December 12, 2014
India is in the midst of an interesting moment in climate politics. UN negotiations in Lima are intended to lay the base for a new 2015 agreement, to be signed in Paris next December. As part of this process, all countries, including India, are expected to submit over the next few months their intended national “contributions” to the struggle against climate change. A recent joint announcement by China and the United States on their future actions to limit greenhouse gases, preceded by an EU announcement, has focused attention on what countries can and should do to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps invariably, this places the spotlight on India, with several media comments asking what India can do. How should India react to this questioning?
The simple answer is: we shouldn’t. Slipping into a reactive mode and seeking to meet benchmarks set by others will fail to reflect both India’s realities and the potential for constructive politics in India’s climate stance. Instead, India should seek to lay out its own benchmarks for what counts as effective action, and urge others to match up.