Why India must up the stakes in Paris

While India should not hesitate to defend its interests at the climate negotiations, it should be careful to not paint itself into a corner.

COP21ParisSummit


  • The Paris climate negotiations are a pivotal moment for global climate policy and carry huge implications for India’s developmental future.
  • In a political move, as a highly vulnerable country, with relatively high energy efficiency, low per capita carbon emissions, and a respectable track record of domestic initiatives, India has a good hand. But it has to play it well.

How does India achieve both substantive and political objectives coming out of Paris?

  • India needs to join the gathering consensus that the 2015 agreement will take the form of a legally binding treaty.
  • A treaty signals the highest expression of political will, generates accountability and predictability in implementation, and typically survives national political changes.
  • Secondly, India needs to argue for a more effective review and update process.
  • That includes regular, 5-year updates based on a global aggregate stocktaking of country contributions is in India’s interest as a highly vulnerable country.

How does a tailored approach to differentiation makes a difference?

  • The tailored approach to differentiation will need to build on the notion of ‘self-differentiation,’ in which countries implicitly place themselves along a spectrum of actions through their climate pledges.
  • India could use a key idea at Paris, the ‘progression principle’.
  • That each country moves over time to ever more ambitious pledges, to argue that progression should be based on current starting points which reflect developed and developing countries’ differences.

India’s climate diplomacy must rise to the challenge of protecting its interests in a manner suited to the emerging political and negotiating context.

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols
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