ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

T JayaramanSubscribe to T Jayaraman

Climate Action and theNorth–South Divide

At COP23 in Bonn, notwithstanding the United States’ announcement of its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the developed countries remained united in diluting or reneging on their commitments to developing countries, particularly on the issues of finance, and loss and damage. In a concerted pushback, the latter obtained a few important procedural gains, including bringing back to the negotiations the issue of equityin the implementation ofthe agreement.

Utopian Rhetoric on Global Warming

Will the Flower Slip through the Asphalt: Writers Respond to Capitalist Climate Change edited by Vijay Prashad, New Delhi, LeftWord Books, 2017; pp 118, ₹175.

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement has set targets for limiting temperature rise due to global warming which will be virtually impossible (1.5°C) or very difficult (well below 2°C) to realise. It ignores the fact that these targets require a strict limit on global cumulative emissions in the future. Allowing all countries, especially developed ones, to do what they feel able to, rather than what is necessary, sets the world on a dangerous and inequitable path to the future.

Appraising the Debate on Biodiversity Conservation in the Western Ghats

This critical review and comparison of the Gadgil and Kasturirangan panel reports on the Western Ghats highlights various concerns related to their methodology, recommendations, and the manner in which they resolve the contradictions between the imperatives of environmental protection and economic development. It also focuses on basic demographic data on the affected areas in the Western Ghats, statistics on agricultural land use, and occupation data of the affected population in the ecologically sensitive zones, none of which has been considered in the two reports. The paper argues that the constitution of expert panels for the Western Ghats is an attempt to appeal to the principles of scientific certainty for addressing the dual concerns of environment and development. The two reports have an unwitting common ground: while they are alive to environmental concerns, they ignore insights from development theory and practice. The recommendations of both the reports presume that environmental and developmental imperatives can be combined without a political debate.

Holding Back the 'Green Economy' Idea, But for How Long?

The agenda of the developed countries at Rio+20 was to confront the issue of sustainability strictly within the scope of the dominant paradigms on how to manage economies. In the end, the developing countries had some cause for satisfaction at the outcome of Rio+20 since some of their core concerns were included in the fi nal document. However, the global South lacks as yet the knowledge capabilities required to counter the fl ood of Northern scholarship that is now directed towards establishing an architecture of global environmental governance that would preserve the current pattern of global economic dominance and signifi cantly shift the burden of sustainability onto the developing world.

Rio+20

There are major issues at stake in the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development to be held on 20-22 June. Yet governments of developing countries have not given adequate importance to the run-up to the conference. As has happened in the climate change negotiations, the outcome draft now under negotiation shows a concerted move to rewrite the terms of global environmental governance. There is an attempt to push through the decidedly narrow and environmentally defi ned “green economy” and there are moves to dilute the importance of development for poverty eradication. Backed by an arsenal of research on environmental economics, the North is out to set a policy agenda that the South is fi nding it diffi cult to catch up with.

Deconstructing the Climate Blame Game

An accusation that is being made post-Copenhagen is that the major developing countries, China in particular, blocked ambitious emission reduction targets that were offered by the advanced economies. But a dissection of the offers shows that a backloading of cuts and a refusal to specify near-term reductions would retain inequalities in emissions and lead to a further grab by the developed countries of the "carbon space" available to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees celsius.

Will It Be a US Endgame at Copenhagen?

The US is in Copenhagen with a very strong hand, having succeeded in significantly furthering its basic agenda of refusing to commit itself to a substantial reduction in emissions until the major developing economies are on board. It is also clear that the US remains firmly committed to ensuring that its hegemonic interests are not seriously compromised by the outcome of climate change negotiations. With the climate laggards in tow, and a pliant European Union unwilling to assert its better instincts, there is a serious danger that the US would dominate the endgame at Copenhagen with an outcome that substantially meets its requirements, at the cost of the developing countries. Above all, a US-led outcome would spell an end, at least temporarily, to serious emissions cuts by the developed countries.

Swinging from Inaction to Capitulation on Climate Policy

Manmohan Singh's government appears to be contemplating a 180-degree turn to India's twodecade old position on global and country-wise commitments to combat climate change. The leaked contents of an extraordinary communication from Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicate that the new thinking is only a thinly veiled proposal to barter India's energy and developmental future for an illusory superpower status that would contribute little to the nation and its people. The focus on the new thinking is on the accommodation of developed nations' interests on climate change rather than finding means to force them to live up to their commitments.

How Much 'Carbon Space' Do We Have? Physical Constraints on India's Climate Policy and Its Implications

It is necessary to determine the role of various nations, including India, China and the other major developing countries in keeping the total atmospheric stock of greenhouse gases below 450 ppm (carbon dioxide equivalent) which, in turn, would provide a 50% probability of keeping the global temperature increase below 2°c. An analysis of future emissions of co2 in Annex I countries, large developing nations and other nations is done using a gams-based emission model. This analysis underlines sharply the historical responsibility of the developed nations for global warming and their duty to cut emissions drastically to mitigate climate change. Also large developing nations like China and India also need to contribute strongly to mitigation. It is argued that this necessity makes evident that carbon offsets will act as "double burden" on developing nations, as also a major disincentive to innovation in critical migration technologies in the industrialised world. The analysis implies that India needs an alternative climate policy that recognises proactive action for climate change mitigation while ensuring that the developed nations do not pass on their burden to the global South, which would otherwise seriously

The New Hullabaloo over Nuclear Testing

The squabble over the quality of the test of a thermonuclear device in 1998 punctures once again the sheer hubris of India's elite, which, in the era of "nuclear-weapons status India" and "India shining", has been prone to disengage periodically from the realities of its status, only to be rudely brought back to earth in fairly short order.

Journey from Pokhran-II to Hyde Act

Indo-US nuclear deal underlines the continuing adherence of the nuclear superpower to its non-proliferation agenda. The acceptance of this legislation by the UPA government also marks the sidelining of scientists in determining nuclear policy. This eclipse highlights the miscalculation that Pokhran-II would reinforce India's autonomy, when in fact the tests initiated the process of its weakening.

Pages

Back to Top