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Climate Change Policy in India: Key Elements That Determine Its Policy In Future

11/17/09

by Sumeru Chatterjee, India

A few members from the class recently went to Indiana University to hear Mr. Arvind Subramaniam, a distinguished economist, and his views on India’s position on climate change. During the talk, Mr Subramaniam described and spoke about the various milestones and factors that constitute India’s current position on climate change.

He started with a brief introduction that included how India’s position has evolved over time. He explained how India moved from the “we have the right to pollute” stance to the Prime Minister’s heilengendam proposal to the Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh’s leaked letter. He noted how India’s position evolved owing to the country’s requirements and it’s current state of affairs.

He then went on to discuss how India’s climate change policy would develop from here on. On this note, he recognized the key elements is this determining process were:

* Equity in energy services: Will India demand that there must be parity in the services of energy enjoyed by the people around the world? (because India is far behind the developed world in terms of enjoying the benefits of energy services)

* Long run growth:  How will India’s long term growth be affected by reducing emissions now: will it hamper long term growth because the economy will produce less, or will it benefit long term growth by developing a green economy?

* Trade: How will India’s trade relations and prospects be influenced by reducing carbon intensity and total emissions? Will reducing carbon use give India a comparative disadvantage in the international import and export market by increasing costs? Or will it increase advantage by developing green technology?

Mr. Subramaniam further discussed how each of these factors would play a crucial role in determining India’s future stance and how the various combinations of these factors would finally produce India’s Final Climate Policy.

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