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

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Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Carbon Markets in Indian Agriculture

An Ex Ante Critical Review

The prospects and implications for continued and possibly rapid extension of the broader effort at greenhouse gas mitigation and the specific effort of carbon markets in India are assessed along four axes: (i) the global experience of mitigation and carbon markets in agriculture in the global North, who are expected to be leaders in such actions; (ii) the theoretical prospects of carbon markets and carbon offsets in agriculture, with special reference to welfare and distributional aspects; (iii) the key initiatives in GHG mitigation and carbon trading related to Indian agriculture; and (iv) considerations of the priority to be assigned to both mitigation and carbon trading in Indian agriculture both in the international and intra-national contexts.

In the 30 years since the Rio Earth Summit, the fate of agriculture in the global climate regime has undergone something of a 180-degree turn. From being positioned as the pre-eminent arena of adaptation, agriculture is now increasingly positioned as the arena of mitigation, or as the arena of both mitigation and adaptation. This positioning is paradoxical, as the enthusiasm for positioning agriculture as the arena of mitigation is not matched by real world policy actions that seek to implement this view. Climate policy experts from the developed world have always focused on agriculture, forest and land use (AFOLU) as potent sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially in the developing countries. However, there has been a notable increase in the stridency of this call for mitigation in agriculture that has now found a much larger constituency, including multilateral institutions.

The shift in emphasis, however, does not merely promote mitigation action in agriculture. Together with mitigation action, carbon markets are seen as the predominant mode of promoting action. Promoting carbon markets is a specific way to introduce carbon prices. A strand in this new emphasis seeks to push for a specific form of carbon markets in agriculture in the form of carbon offsets, arguing that this would be a means of incentivising farmers to undertake mitigation activity, while adding to their income.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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