India climate plan: time to rock the boat

Thermal power generation is major contributor to climate change (Photo: Tanzeel Ahad)

By Himanshu Thakkar –

Sunita Narain, member of the Prime Minister’s Council on the Climate Change says in the opening paragraph of her piece on Climate Change (The Times of India, Dec 1, 2011):  “The problem at hand is that these emissions are needed for economic growth. And the world has still not found the convenient answer to reinvent growth without pollution.”

That is the assumption behind the status quoist position that the Indian government has taken even in its National Action Plan on Climate Change, formulated by the same Council.

But that is a seriously flawed assumption. If food, water, energy, environment and livelihood security of the poor is the priority, if sustainable development with equity and democratic governance is of any value, than surely we have other options available, which can indeed include low carbon path too. But if the continued, sustained and sustainable consumption of the elite and the rich are the priorities, than surely, this proposition that emissions are needed for economic growth will drive the decisions.

It is high time that we debate such assumptions. Such assumptions are allowing the Indian government to continue on the wrong development path and also allowing the rest of the world to keep assuming that status quo is the only option and is a possibility.

–  Himanshu Thakkar facilitates South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People (SANDRP)

Read: Choice is between a rock & a hard place