Indian Environmentalist Calls US on Climate Change Blame Game

The blame game can be fun when you're playing with your sibling or your significant other. But nobody wins when big greenhouse gas emitting countries play the climate change blame game. Last week, a well-known Indian environmentalist accused the US of using India and other emerging economies - China, for example - as an excuse for not cutting CO2 emissions. The Bush administration has opted out of the Kyoto Protocol on grounds of unfairness: if developed countries that sign on have to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, powerhouse developing nations should be required to make commitments, too. But "[f]or America to say they won't move unless India does, that is ridiculous," said Maneka Gandhi, a parliamentarian, former Indian environment minister, and tree and bear hugger. "They should do it anyway. You move because you need to save the world."

The US is currently the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, and on a per capita basis, America's CO2 emissions are about twenty times higher than India's. But India's electricity demand is expected to double by 2015, and the vast majority of that power will come from dirty, greenhouse gassy coal. China, meanwhile, despite policies promoting energy efficiency and renewables, is poised to surpass the US as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter any day now. All this posturing about who's to blame is leading up to a major conference in December in Bali, Indonesia, where an international framework will be created for controlling CO2 emissions post-Kyoto. Hopefully the romantic atmosphere will inspire some international political kissing and making up - for the future of the planet. Signs seem good. Last week, in the wake of the release of the latest IPCC report, China made its first commitment to anything to do with limiting CO2 emissions. And there's always the hope that more countries will follow in the EU's small footprint leaving footsteps. ::Associated Press

Image of Maneka Gandhi courtesy of the UN Environment Program (UNEP).

Tags: Asia | China | India