India’s Response to Climate Change: The 2009 Copenhagen Summit and Beyond
Autri Saha & Karan Talwar*
Volume 3 Issue 2 (2010)
The 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen was meant to work out an international response to climate change and develop a cooperative long-term plan to address climate change. The outcome of the summit was a three-page ‘Copenhagen Accord’. Termed by many as the ‘dead deal’, and bitterly criticized by many environmentalists, it fails to map a clear path towards a treaty with binding commitments. India’s stand at the summit was that the focus should be on ‘per capita’ emissions and that future emission targets should take into account the historical ‘wrongs’ of the industrialized countries. In the wake of heightened concerns about rapid climate change and the devastating impacts that it can have on India, the ‘per-capita’ argument is increasingly losing force. This paper is an attempt to evaluate the contours and implications of this stand taken by India, and to probe into the question as to whether India is doing enough to combat climate change. We argue that India should abandon its present stand and negotiate to join a post 2012 International Agreement on Climate Change, provided it can secure a fair deal.