It has been nigh on impossible for global leaders to create a solid framework to tackle climate change. Leaders are often unable to agree on a global resolution to mitigate climate change and so the process drags on year after year. The climate change conference which took place in Poznan, 1-12th December 2008 was a typical example of why countries are unable to agree on any sort of global framework. The aim of the conference was to shape an international response to climate change. However, India merely used the conference to reaffirm its prioritisation of economic development and the responsibility of developed countries to address climate change (Lewer 2008). When a country of Indias size and growing influence, does not even wish to accept any responsibility for climate change mitigation, it is easy to see why a global response seems near impossible.
It is understandable to see why India believes they should not be burdened with the costs of mitigating climate change. Indias policy on Climate change could be simplified as follows:The developed world is responsible for causing climate change, thus the mitigation of climate change should be their responsibility.
Agreeing to cut green-house gas emissions would be harmful to economic growth.
Compared to the developed world, Indias levels of emissions are still relatively small.
Indias policy of refusing to accept emissions cuts is intended to benefit India and its people. In reality this policy stance does not favour Indias best interests, and is economically illogical and jeopardizes the future of India.
Common but Differentiated ResponsibilityWhen addressing climate change, Indias Prime Minister Manmohan Singh emphasises the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (Kubota and Fujioka 2008; Singh 2008). In Lehmans terms, Singh believes that developed countries should foot the bill for reversing climate change. Unfortunately for Singh, the evidence suggests that India will be faced with massive costs if global emissions continue to rise unchecked. Various reports have estimated that India would be one of the worlds biggest losers from climate change. A Lehmans Brothers report estimated that a 2.5°C rise in global temperature would cost the Indian economy some 5% of its GDP (Llewellyn 2007). A report by the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, valued the loss at 9% (Sethi 2007). The reality is that poorer regions such as India are likely to suffer more from climate change, as developed countries are better equipped to adapt to changes climate change brings.
The Indian government must realize that pointing the finger at developed countries will not make climate change go away. Instead the government should look to take action and protect its people from an uncertain future.
To Protect an EconomyIndia believes that if it were to accept emission cuts, its own economic growth would be harmed. This is because emission cuts could ultimately restrict Indias output thus reducing the growth of its economy. However, if climate change is not kept under control, India is very likely to suffer huge economic consequences which easily outweigh the costs of agreeing to emissions cuts.
It is relatively straightforward to see how an economy could be adversely affected by climate change. As Llewellyn explains,the value of an economys output is a combined function of the quantity and quality of its capital stock, and the size and quality of its labour force. Both the quantity and the...