One of the concerns I have long had about international carbon pollution reduction schemes is that they are designed by nice people in the developed world who have never been near a developing country. An article from the Indian “Economic Times” summarises my concerns. The article is here. The problem is simple and summarised by this quote from the article.
Making the Indian position clear, the minister said, “India will not accept any emission-reduction target period. India will not accept any legally enforceable targets. This is a non-negotiable stand.”
This is not bloody-mindedness on the part of an Indian Minister – it is political reality. India is a democracy of almost 1 billion people, most of whom live in poverty and conditions that people in Australia could not dream of or understand. These people vote – and Indian democracy works. The rural poor in India see western media and, increasingly, the affluent in Mumbai and Delhi. They want a life without grinding poverty – if not for themselves then for their children. Any western view that the 700,000,000 or so Indian poor are going to support carbon reduction policy that keeps them poor is western lunacy.
The Indian view is that the developed world got us into the current environmental mess and it is the developed world’s responsibility to solve the problem without impeding economic growth in poorer countries. Again, form the article:
Mr Ramesh reiterated India’s previous position that the country’s per capita emission of carbon dioxide would not exceed that of the developed countries. “Even at a 9% growth, the per capita emission will be nowhere near that of the developed countries. The per capita calculation is the way to go as it enshrines the principle of equity”.
Put simply – don’t expect India to support international carbon reduction schemes until they have developed to a point where domestic poverty is dramatically reduced.