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Recovering Key Strategic Concepts in India's Climate Policy

A reply to "Paris Agreement: Differentiation without Historical Responsibility?" by Kirit S Parikh and Jyoti K Parikh (EPW, 9 April 2016), which deepens the discussion on the key concepts of co-benefits and historical responsibility.

The article “Paris Agreement: Differentiation without Historical Responsibility?” by Kirit S Parikh and Jyoti K Parikh (EPW, 9 April 2016) usefully takes forward a complex discussion on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and India’s interests in that agreement. The article also cites some of our recent work on the subject. This comment is intended to deepen the discussion, as well as clarify a misreading of our own views. While the misreading is relatively minor, we think that the very framing of the problem of their article—around the two important issues of co-benefits and historical responsibility—is incomplete and therefore problematic.

The minor misreading of our work pertains to the cost of India’s climate actions, as represented in India’s official Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted before Paris. The INDC assesses the cost of mitigation and adaptation action, and therefore the need for support, at $2.5 trillion (2014–15 prices) between now and 2030 (UNFCCC 2015). In their article, the authors cite us as arguing that this is an overestimate because co-benefits of climate actions are not accounted for. Not quite.

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