Cost of Glasgow Commitment for India – UPSC GS3

Summary: India’s commitments at the Glasgow COP-26 meeting came at a substantial cost to its medium-term economic prospects, while other developed countries such as EU, US and China will have an advantage.
How new commitments will cost India its medium-term economic prospects?
  • New commitments related to energy transition mean the challenge of raising the living standards of hundreds of millions of our people has become even more difficult.
  • It is uncertain if high economic growth at the scale required to create the 20 million jobs, we need every year is possible within the parameters of India’s carbon commitments.
  • Rapid decarbonization is likely to cause a supply shock, raise prices and raise public debt. It will create winners and losers, and the latter could push back, as they have done against globalization.
How EU, US and China will benefit from the CoP-26 commitments?
  • China: The transition from fossil fuels to modern renewables, for instance, presents China with a massive economic opportunity, given its dominance in solar, battery and nuclear power.
  • Europe: It can protect its domestic industries from foreign competition by imposing green standards and tariffs.
  • US: Given its advanced research and development ecosystem, the US is sure to derive economic benefits from the emerging global market for green technology.
Why India can neither rely on the rich countries’ promises nor on climate financing?
  • Rich countries have failed to make covid vaccines available to billions of people in need of them today. So, they can hardly be relied upon to help future generations.
  • Talk of $1 trillion in green financing and assistance from rich countries, cannot be believed given their past records. For instance, the $100 billion per year promised by rich countries at Paris six years ago has remained as an unfulfilled goal till now.
Why it has become more difficult to address common global challenges?
  • It is because the political structure of the world is not optimized to formulate solutions for humankind as a whole.
  • Our failure to adopt coherent global approaches to a growing number of important issues, such as international terrorism, public health, environment, etc is in large part due to political structures.
What is the way forward?
  • There is a need to evolve a stable balance of power that creates a global order that permits global solutions for global problems.
  • Nation states need to rethink political structures. Within countries, mechanisms of representative democracy and bureaucratic administration need overhauling.
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