India Won't Commit to Binding Emissions Reductions - Which is Why Rich Countries Must Make Deeper Cuts

india parliament photo

photo: Nimrod Bar via flickr

Add India to the list of developing nations that will not be signing on to binding emissions reductions targets at December's COP15 climate change conference in Copenhagen. That's the word coming from India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh through Yale Environment 360:Ramesh was quoted as saying,

India cannot and will not take emission reduction targets because poverty eradication and social and economic development are first and overriding priorities.

India's aggregate greenhouse gas emissions are among the highest in the world, but its per capita emissions are solidly near the bottom. And considering the levels of genuine poverty there a focus on social and economic development is certainly justifiable.

Developing World Demands Are More Than Reasonable
Which is why the developed world really ought to be paying attention and heeding calls from the developing world that deeper emissions cuts are required.

India was among the group of nations, lead by China, at recent climate negotiations in Bonn that called for the developed world as a whole to commit to 40% emission reductions from 1990 levels by 2020, as well as offering climate change adaptation assistance.

Let's remember that the American Clean Energy & Security Act proposes 4% reductions.

The fact of the matter is that social compromises are going to have to be made to address climate change. There is no holding back the desire of billions to better their lives. But what can happen is shaping that future economic and social development is done with the least amount of environmental impact.

We Must Focus on Green Technology Transfer
Part of which is facilitating green technology transfer as quickly as possible, abandoning the notion that the poor nations of the world are just rising economic competitors, and offering assistance where required so that the agricultural and industrial missteps of the past century aren't just repeated. Part of which is radically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and natural resource consumption in the developed world, even if that means accepting compromises in quality of life.

The benefits to the people of poor nations of increasing per capita natural resource and energy consumption a bit and far greater than the slight hardships we in the rich nations would have to face by accepting curbs on our resource consumption to bring that in line with what is ecological sustainable.

Global Climate Change
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