Bangalore International Centre had arranged a Talk on “After Copenhagen: a People-Friendly Climate Agenda for India and the World” on Friday, 19 th January, 2010 at 6.30 PM by Mr. Praful Bidwai, an independent Columnist, Environmentalist and Writer-Researcher. Dr. J Gururaja, Former Senior Adviser (Energy-New & Renewable), UN and Former Adviser, Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, GOI, moderated the session.
In a wide-ranging talk to highlight the major issues associated with global warming and climate change, Shri Bidwai underscored the disappointment felt the world over on the failure of the Copenhagen conference to produce a strong, equitable, legally binding treaty on reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. He pointed out that global warming is steadily destabilizing nature’s cycles and is already having dangerously damaging impacts on people’s lives. He was categorical that this global phenomenon can not be arrested with weak, non-binding agreements of the type articulated at Copenhagen Conference.
In a lucid analysis of India’s approach to this issue, Shri Bidwai highlighted the dilemma faced by the negotiators to balance the objectives of development and poverty growth through rapid GDP growth and environmental concerns. He was clear that excessive emphasis on equity anchored in per capita emissions at the global level was unlikely to be very successful in a divided and unequal society where the individual emissions of the rich are far more than those of the poor. His feeling was that India’s climate policy is largely an extension, with some modifications, of its foreign policy and environment policy and is conditioned by what is perceived to be of national interest and sustainable development. Very often these objectives do not match.
He strongly advocated that India should promote and adopt low-carbon development pathways which are especially relevant for the global sough through development of low-cost technologies in renewable energy, and low emission-based energy generation, industrial production and agriculture.
There was a lively interactive session during which Shri Bidwai asserted that natural resources like land, water and air quality can not be monetized and traded as commodities within a cost-benefit calculus. Hence, carbon trading can never be a mitigating factor in combating climate change. He was equally categorical that nuclear power was neither a safe, nor a cost-effective solution to meet the country’s need for electricity generation.
The session was admirably moderated by Dr. J Gururaja.