Tuesday, July 29, 2008

India - Economic Boom No Climate Doom

India loves the UN’s climate change policies and so does India’s representative at the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri.

Why the love-in? The Indian government’s new “National Action Plan on Climate Change,” which Pachauri helped craft, plainly explains why: The UN formally establishes that global warming is a matter of secondary importance to India, allowing the world’s largest democracy to pursue its own best interests.

As the National Action Plan unapologetically puts it, the UN’s climate change convention “recognizes that ‘economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country parties.’ Thus, developing countries are not required to divert resources from development priorities by implementing projects involving incremental costs.”

And India doesn’t. Throughout its National Action Plan, India demonstrates that it will divert precious little of its scarce resources to solving the climate crisis. Where greenhouse gases will be curbed — for example, by aggressively building hydro dams or modernizing industry — the curbs will be a by-product of India’s national security concerns or economic development plans.

The UN’s climate change convention is even better than that — it’s a money-maker for India and a lever with which to obtain western technology. As the Action Plan makes clear, there’s only one condition under which India need spend a rupee to help curb global warming “— (if) these incremental costs are borne by developed countries and the needed technologies are transferred.”

Apart from wanting to develop, and wanting transfers of western wealth, the Indian government has one other reason for putting global warming on the back burner — although it agrees that climate change may one day pose a threat, the National Action Plan states boldly that man-made global warming may not exist, and that if it does exist, its existence may be of no account to India. India rejects climate doom, pursues economic boom.