Jake Schmidt of the National Resources Defense Council has an interesting post discussing a speech given yesterday by India’s Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh.
I’ve reported on statements made by Ramesh in the past few months that have been perceived as being relatively provocative.
Photo of Jairam Ramesh: Matthew McDermott
Schmidt’s post, however, suggests that Ramesh is shifting tone. Yesterday he apparently highlighted the vulnerabilities faced by the country from climate change and highlighted the numerous domestic policies being undertaken to mitigate emissions, particularly with regard to regulations requiring efficiency in transport & building, expansion of renewable energy production, and deforestation.
With this approach it seems like India is following China’s strategy of highlighting domestic action to claim the moral high ground while the United States continues to stay quiet on the key issue of mitigation targets.
Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh released a report [.pdf] today that looks at five different projections for greenhouse gas emission growth in the country over the course of the next 23 years. The report contends that India’s emissions are set to rise, but they will remain lower than the global per-capita emissions level.
The average from the five studies estimates that per-capita emissions in India will grow to 2.1 tons of CO2e by 2020 and 3.5 tons of CO2e by 2030. This would put them well under the current global average of about 8 tons per-capita, but above the 2 ton number that economists such as Nicholas Stern have argued are necessary to ward off extensive climate damage.
The release of the report seems intended to fortify India’s position that it should not have to abide by binding emissions reduction targets in any global deal. Its release came on the day that UK climate minister, Ed Miliband, was in India. In an interview with the Guardian, Miliband embraced the idea that India should not be required to reduce emissions by 2020, although he apparently was less certain about longer term restrictions.
The specifics on timetables and binding reductions seem to be getting more difficult as the clock ticks down to the December negotiations in Copenhagen.