Monday, March 8, 2010
Isabel Hilton has an interesting profile of India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh. (See http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2247.)Hilton quotes Ramesh at the 2007 Sustainable Development Summit in Delhi, attacking India’s reluctance to contemplate limiting its future emissions as outdated and unhelpful: “If we have superpower ambitions and superpower visions then we should take on superpower responsibilities.” It merits reading this sentence through the lens of Chinese-Indian competition in the 20th century. One of the lessons of Copenhagen was China's ambiguous relationship to Developing World interests. China is not only the world's leading carbon emitter but already above its allocation on a per capita "fair share" basis. Not so India. And with a significant cushion before it reaches such a per capita level, unlike China, an Indian willingness to act repsosnilibty is a costless gesture - but one that reaps large political benefits for it in both the Developing and the Developed World.