While delegates from around the world descend on Lima for this year’s UN climate summit, the planet’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions is striking a defiant tone. Prakash Javadekar, India’s environment minister, defied international pressure on his country to curtail emissions, instead insisting that economic growth was the first priority. Reuters reports:
Javadekar said the current U.N. talks in Lima, where delegates from about 190 nations are meeting during Dec. 1-12 to work towards a U.N. climate treaty in 2015, were not the place to announce when India’s emissions might peak.“We need to grow. Our emissions will grow … Our growth cannot be compromised. Poverty must be eliminated immediately,” he said.
This isn’t coming out of left field, though. After the UN General Assembly met in New York City in September to discuss climate change, Javadekar predicted that his country’s emissions would likely continue to grow for the next thirty years before beginning to taper off, and in June he insisted on the developing world’s “right to grow.”Narendra Modi is already demonstrating a commitment to this line of thinking, as he rolls back environmental regulations in an attempt to give a boost to the Indian economy. The NYT reports:
Indian industries have often complained that convoluted environmental regulations are choking off economic growth. As a candidate, Mr. Modi promised to open the floodgates, and he has been true to his word. The new government is moving with remarkable speed to clear away regulatory burdens for industry, the armed forces, mining and power projects.
In short, India is doing what any other country in its position would do; Javadekar may be stating his position a bit more bluntly that we’re accustomed to, but at least he’s being honest. China and the United States jointly announced emissions reductions targets last month only because this strategy could complement their economic growth. No nation is going to jump on the grenade and deny its citizens a path out of poverty purely to divert humanity away from a nebulous and—most importantly—future catastrophe.This is a huge problem for the Global Climate Treaty movement, and it’s one that seems likely to go unsolved in the run-up to next year’s talks in Paris.