Sunday, February 17, 2008

Can India lead the world on Carbon Capping? Of Course.

Can India lead the world on Carbon Capping? Of Course. Just lose the colonized dependent mindset

Chithra Karunakaran, Feb 15, 2008

Nilekani's Blog from Davos about equitable carbon capping is excellent.

But I am going to challenge Nilekani's dependent mindset. Why is Nilekani being a crybaby and holding out for a global consensus on this issue?

Are you saying Nilekani, that INDIA cannot act on its own to reduce its own carbon emissions with innovative public mass transit and other strategies?

Why doesn't India LEAD (with action, not merely empty words from Infosys and TERI and others) in capping its own carbon?

Why can't India, the world's largest democracy with a majority of poor people, develop a model for carbon capping that is the envy of the world? Why should India wait until everyone agrees that carbon capping is a desirable strategy? Pro-poor justice depends on such a policy.

Carbon capping is in the interest of its own long-suffering masses who have to put up with India's own elites and their excessive carbon emissions from their SUV's and AC's.

India has the knowhow, the resources and the public awareness to cap carbon NOW.

Let India LEAD, let India's self-professed leaders lose their colonized, caste-hierarchical mindset and produce a benchmarked carbon capping model -- and then implement it. India cannot afford to produce, much less dispose a paper cup and yet we are on a path of allegedly cheap (cheap for the environment?) private transport (the Nano is a no-no), mindless consumption following the US model of predatory capitalism, when India's historical model can and should be Gandhian innovative self-reliance.

Who's denying India and China the "right to develop" as you wrongly say? Nobody.

But the core question is: What kind of development can India afford? Development that is sustainable and equitable and a negotiated tradeoff for all stakeholders, especially the poor, or development to appease and please profit hungry corporate elites and politicians?

I suggest Indian leaders like Nilekani, Tata and Pachauri stop being part of the problem and instead use their positions of power, status and privilege in India and the world, to go ahead and show the world what India can DO to cap carbon.

Put your carbon capping solutions where your mouth and your profits are.

Chithra KarunaKaran
The Rise of the Car Nazis: Ratan and the Tata Wannabes


Recently Nandan Nilekani of Infosys, blogging from Davos WEF 2008 posted this:

How about a non-carbon global economy? Posted by: Nandan M. Nilekani on January 25, 2008
Yesterday in Davos, we saw a great deal of discussion around climate change and energy. Yes, there is a tremendous amount of innovation happening in various kinds of solutions related to efficiency, new sources of energy, etc. But my belief is that if we want to bring about real change, we need a global agreement on capping carbon, one that is equitable to both developing and developed countries. If we don’t succeed here, we won’t really be able to implement an effective system globally and it won’t drive incentives towards creating a non-carbon global economy. Developing countries must have their right to develop. People in India and China are looking for a better life and mobility and higher incomes, and no one can deny them those aspirations. They are entitled to them like everybody else. What we have to consider is that on a per capita basis, India consumes 1.3 Gt of carbon per person compared to the US figure of 6 Gt. The global consensus needs to take this into account. The agreement should be fair to developing nations without compromising their growth. We need to arrive at a formula that is amenable to everyone. At the same time, developing countries must take proactive steps to bring in energy efficiency and explore renewable sources of energy. From coal to coalition Clean energy presents a big opportunity – you may even call it a profitable opportunity. The technology of generating and distributing power has not changed dramatically for generations. IT can make energy transmission and distribution more efficient. It can provide solutions for developing and managing smart grids on the lines of the infrastructure of the Internet. To make this happen, we need a concerted private-public partnership. While utility and IT companies can work together to develop new technology solutions to optimize energy and innovate in energy distribution, governments must fulfill their part of the bargain by creating suitable policy frameworks.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice