The Dernogalizer

September 7, 2009

India and Climate Change

I came across this solid article by Stephanie Nolen that is a very good in depth look at India’s perspective regarding climate change and it’s stance on international negotiations.  Excerpts posted below.  In case you want more on India, check out this post.

“It didn’t get cold enough for us to even wear our winter clothes last year,” Ms. Behan, 32, said – and that meant it wasn’t cold enough to sow a wheat crop either. “We depend on agriculture to live. If there is no snow or rain in winter, there is no wheat, and we have no other way to earn an income. There are no jobs. We’ll just die.”

“India is in the midst of a massive drought that could imperil basic food for millions of people; monsoon rains have failed entirely in parts of the country. At the same time, other areas have been hit with vicious cyclones that left tens of thousands of people homeless. And a giant impenetrable cloud of what’s called “black carbon” is rapidly melting the Himalayan glaciers, with – as Ms. Behan points out – a host of dire consequences.”

“China is, of course, a vastly greater consumer of energy, and a vastly greater polluter, than India. Yet India, in some ways, is a more challenging case – because China has already engaged more pro-actively with clean-energy alternatives, and because its authoritarian government has shown itself capable of tackling this issue, when it chooses, in a way that India’s never has.”

“At the same time, India is an energy importer and already extremely frugal in consumption compared with Western nations. It is too soon to say for certain that problems such as droughts and cyclones in India are anything more than standard climate variability. But if the developed world expects India to sign on to a carbon-reduction plan, it better be prepared to pay for it, in cash and technology transfer.”

“Two-thirds of Indians still live in villages, she noted; in Ms. Behan’s village of 600 people, no one owns a car, or even a motorbike; they have electrical service for a few hours a day that each house uses to power a single light bulb; there is one television in all of Pujar. How, Ms. Kapoor asked, can the West, with its rapacious energy consumption, say that Indians such as Ms. Behan and her family are the problem, or that they do not have a right to this, or more?”

“Sayyed Iqbal Hasnain, one of India’s leading glaciologists, who believes the Himalayas may be denuded of all snow and ice in as little as 20 years, despairs at the incompetent bureaucracy, the corruption and the short-sightedness of parliamentarians that, he said, is hampering any progress here. Just a few weeks ago, he travelled by train across China and returned depressed by how much was happening there – from solar-powered communications towers to energy-efficient buildings to intensive research.”


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