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  • Nitin Sethi - Senior Associate Editor, Business Standard

    Nitin Sethi

    Senior Associate Editor, Business Standard

    DATE: September 02, 2015, 12:00 PM

    SUBJECT: Should India distance itself from China on its climate change policy?



  • A


    Can India reach China's levels of manufacturing prowess without some compromises on the climate change front? Some Chinese cities are polluted but no more or less than Delhi or Mumbai.


    Its a tough one for India. Also there are large questions still open about how India wants to see the structure of its economy change with time. If we want to add a stronger manufacturing base we shall be on a higher emission trajectory than the business as usual for the past decade. Yet there are several slices of the economy available where we can make relative improvement - in terms of energy efficiency and increasing the role of renewable energy sources

  • V


    During the last few years, India's role in leading the LDC's and Developing countries at the International Forums like UNFCCC/WTO , India's leadership seems to be diminishing and a shift is seen to favour the Developed Countries . While this may look favourable in near term, in long term our interests of growth might be stymied . What do you think India's role should be going forward in such multi-lateral forums with regards to its approach and leadership?


    At the climate talks India has been strongly anchored in the G77 group but we must remember the G77 itself is a fractious one. the LDCs and SIDs are often considered sitting closer to the EU on several issues (sometimes called the Durban Alliance). At the climate negotiations India also works closely with a group of developing countries called the LMDC. This is a closer bound group and at the moment rather influential at the talks

  • V


    Will India's ambitious plan to harness solar power help the country reduce depletion of natural resources and contain the severity of climate change in the near future?


    Only some bit. Even with this ambitious target India's energy requirements will grow to demand more fossil fuel based production. This is inevitable unless there is a silver bullet solution pops up tomorrow. The question is can we find a balance and can the government ensure a dynamic balance between the energy needs of the country, poverty eradication as well as maintaining environmental integrity of our growth. Very few countries I would think have been able to do so in the past.

  • M


    Three part question, Mr Sethi. a) Any indication as to what will India's INDCs be at the Paris COP? b) What kind of constructive role - if any - can India play at this critical Paris COP, given that it wants to stick to voluntary targets? c) Do you think a successor to the Kyoto Protocol is possible without India's inclusion/consent/blessing? If no, do you see climate change agreements becoming more of a bilateral phenomenon (like the US-China announcement)?


    Mathew. Journalists shouldn't ideally predict but i shall give it a shot. a) It will have an energy intensity target in the range of 30-40% below 2005 levels by 2030. It could also provide a partial break down of how this would be achieved - suggestive or concrete targets for renewable energy, afforestation and others. b) I think its clear that the Paris agreement is a bottoms up approach with each country voluntaring its targets. The US had made it clear long ago that only this would be acceptable to it. India's positive contribution would be to volunteer commitments that are commensurate with its responsibility and capability and as strongly work with other partners to ensure that developed countries provide the Means of Implementation - finance, technology and capacity building resources c) No its not possible. d) No. there have always been furtive and active bilateral and plurilateral dialogue between countries like the Major Economies Forum etc. But the formal negotiations at the UNFCCC are dependent on all countries coming on board. The larger players on the table of course have a disproportionate impact but that has been true since the beginning of UNFCCC and for that matter at all multilateral negotiations to some or greater extent

  • A


    Power generator are one of the largest users of natural resources in addition to the pollution. Other than wind and solar power is power generation through hydro and nuclear could be the feasible solution?


    Our hydro production has stagnated over last few years. This is because of issues of land, displacement and the fragility of Himalayan region. This is unlikely to change in near future. Nuclear power capacity has been added at much slower rate than official projections since time immemorial. After the Japan disaster the concerns about nuclear power have only deepened especially with a lack of transparency in the nuclear safety and regulatory frameworks of the country. It would be difficult to imagine an energy mix where these two become a substantially bigger slices of the pie

  • P


    My question is more generic. Is there a tipping point beyond which climate change will be rendered irreversible? How far away are we from that point in case it exists? Some environmental scientists also believe the global warming theory is hyped and not as frightening as it is made out to be. What is your take?


    Prashant : The one report on climate science that all countries and respective governments agree to is that of the UN IPCC. Their report talks about tipping points as far as temperature changes are concerned at a global level as well as regional specific impacts. Countries at the moment are arguing if the tipping point - for the purpose of the Paris agreement and action - be considered as 1.5 degree celsius or 2 degree celsius above industrial era. Now we must also remember that science keeps improving about how and how much the emission of different gases impacts the global temperature rise. The variability and uncertainty attached with projections makes it difficult for the political leaders to take calls on risking investments. I think its a tough one for any government to decide how to put its fixed resources in this game of risk taking

  • A


    The ambitious ''Make in India" campaign is likely to boost many industries including chemicals, textiles, steel and other sectors. Does India has a comprehensive plan to contain pollutions levels in view of the same?


    To put it simply: No. Not at the moment.


    Thank you, Mr Sethi, for answering our readers' queries. We also thank our readers for sending their queries. Hope to see you soon.


    Most welcome!