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

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Climate Change and the Energy Challenge: A Pragmatic Approach for India

India has been arguing that it (and the rest of the developing world) should incur no expense in controlling emissions that cause climate change. In the face of heightened concerns about rapid climate change, that argument is increasingly losing force - both in the fundamental arithmetic of climate change, and in the political reality that important western partners will increasingly demand more of India and other developing countries. The Indian government has outlined a broad plan for what could be done, but the plan still lacks a strategy to inform which efforts offer the most leverage on warming emissions and which are most credible. This paper offers a framework for that strategy. It suggests that a large number of options to control warming gases are in India's own self-interest, and with three case studies it suggests that leverage on emissions could amount to several hundred million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually over the next decade and an even larger quantity by 2030.

A nthropogenic (human-caused) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), are the main human cause of global climate change (IPCC 2007a). Many analysts and governments are now focused on the goal of limiting the total change in climate to 2C. Achieving this goal would require, roughly, that global CO2 emissions peak before 2015, followed by a 50% to 80% reduction in CO2 emissions below 2000 levels by 2050 (ibid). Given likely global growth trajectories such massive emissions reductions are only possible through the large-scale deployment of low-carbon technologies.

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