Westerners and especially Americans tend to fail to understand the seriousness of the international equity constraints on our future behavior. Here’s an article that spells it out.
Pradipto Ghosh, who retired last month as India’s environment secretary and now sits on a committee advising India’s prime minister on climate change, warned that the West must “get serious” about cutting its own emissions if it wanted progress on the issue.
At the heart of India’s position on climate change is the notion that India – whose population is predicted to reach 1.5bn by 2050 – must be allowed to pollute on a per capita basis equally with the West.
That would imply drastic cuts in emissions in developed countries if the world is meet the target of keeping global warming within the generally agreed ‘safe limit’ of two degrees, as set out by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Mr Ghosh said it was now up to the world to decide how big the ‘carbon pie’ should be at a certain point in the future – say, 2050 – and then agree that by that date all nations should have an equal entitlement relative to their size of population.
“There does seem to be a reluctance to appreciate our position,” he concluded, “There seems to be an idea around that developing countries like India must accept the position of being second class global citizens in our planet.
“We can only hope that this is not the frame of mind in which negotiations are approached in the future.”