The Indian Economy Blog

August 6, 2007

The Politics Of Negotiating Climate Change

Filed under: China,Energy,Environment,Politics — Dweep @ 1:49 pm

The FT has a very illuminating article on the politics of climate change. It is illuminating because it brings a perspective to the debate that has sadly been lacking so far – one of pragmatic international relations. Taking that perspective explains why the US, China and other major polluters have not signed on to any international emissions control treaty; and how their cooperation may be forthcoming:

Nations usually enter treaties to help themselves, not others. In 1987, the US pushed hard for the Montreal Protocol, which restricted ozone-depleting chemicals. It did so not out of altruism but after a cost-benefit analysis convinced President Ronald Reagan that the US would gain far more than it would lose. Bans on ozone-depleting chemicals were not burdensome for US companies. By contrast, developing nations strongly resisted the protocol. They demanded and received a large side payment from the rich nations.

These side payments are not unusual. When a group of nations needs the co-operation of another nation in some area of international relations, and that nation does not gain through the proposed agreement, then some kind of payment or exemption is typically arranged. With its explosive emissions growth, China is by far the world’s biggest problem for climate change. Like it or not, the only way for other nations to ensure Chinese co-operation is through a special inducement, such as cash or extra emissions rights…

The debate about climate change has finally produced an understanding that the world as a whole would benefit from an emissions control agreement. The next stage is to recognise that a warmer planet presents much greater problems for some countries than others; that emissions controls would cost some nations much more than others; and that no nation is going to spend a lot in return for a little.

It is time for the world to take steps to pay China for its participation in an agreement. The richer US is unlikely to receive such payment or even to ask for it. Even so, we fear that if the world does not persuade the US that it has more to gain than to lose from a deal on climate change, an effective agreement will prove to be impossible.

This perspective, however, presents a huge dilemna for India. Climate change is a much greater problem for India than for other countries. Yet, emissions controls would also cost India much more than others. In essence, India stands on the loosing side of both issues – the cost of climate change, and the cost of climate change action. India should be pushing for international action on climate change, yet it stands to loose significantly by adopting stringent emission standards.

How is this contradiction to be solved? India can ask for monetary compensation – yet if it wants or needs climate change action more than others  it has a weak bargaining position. Ethical concerns notwithstanding, it will not be compensated any more than it benefits other rich countries. But there is a way out if one sees that India’s emissions pose not a current but future threat to the global environment. Simultaneously, climate change is very much a current threat to India, that must be adapted to now.

This means India needs to take adaptive action now, and mitigating action in the future. Nevertheless, to spur other major polluters into action, India must establish a roadmap for increasing emission regulations, while being compensated not directly for migitation, but for adaptation. In this manner, the rich countries pay mostly to reduce their own and China’s emissions now, while India signals its moral and practical commitment to the international process – thus encouraging US action.

I have previously discussed why India must embrace climate change action and push for an international treaty, on the IEB and Pragati. An upcoming article will discuss further what India’s negotiating strategy needs to be.


  1. This is a superb post on a subject of international negotiation. I am looking forward to the strategy you are proposing.

    Comment by little Ram — August 6, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

  2. Looking forward to your posts on negotiation strategy, but i think the topic is extremely tricy owing to a myriad mix of economics, politics, development stage of nations, poverty, income inequalities etc etc. We have seen post WTO issues on agricultural subsidies still being prevelant in the west, which in effect in not in the spirit of free trade etc. So developing countries would be apprehensive in agreeing to climate protocols and like it has been pointed out in the articles, countries would be looking at thier own benefits while going for it. Couple of points crossed my mind, if u have comments or opinions about it..

    The bulk of manufacturing has shifted from the west to Asia owing to lower costs. In essence the average Joe in west (or the MNC which sells the product) is enjoying significantly lower costs than before. The emissions in China and other countries have gone up partly due to this shift, so even when we blame China of being high on emissions, we are unable to prove that all of it are for Chinese. Part of the emissions are for goods produced for the west. Hence the question, who should be held responsible for the emissions ?

    Emissions needs to be classified, ie, for example, the emissions caused by the consumer (for example lets assume west has more cars and hence contribute more towards emissions of this sort) and emissions caused by industries (lets say China is a heavy industrial polluter, but part of this industry output is consumed by local and part by consumers located outside) and the agreement in essence should be able to allcoate the costs to the ultimate beneficiary.

    The consumers, the producers and the rest of the chain needs to pay for these environmental costs and probebly we need to incorporate ‘emission tax’ on the products manufactured in each country/product type (which product contributes to emission more etc etc). These cost could be borne by the producers (which will tilt the cost benefit back a little) or by the consumer (whose consumption patterns need to change to protect environment). The income generated from these taxes needs to be used in activities that would lead to an overall reduction in the emission situation (R&D, emission control systems, afforestation etc)

    As i said before, looking forward to your take on the issue…

    Comment by Renjith — August 7, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  3. I think emissions are only one part of climate change negotiations.

    In W Europe, much of the responsibility is being passed on to individuals by informing them of the carbon foot print concept and teaching them to recycle etc. But less is being done upstream in the value chain. So for instance, yes there is a problem with packaging waste, but should packaging industry and supermarkets not be held to account for not reducing packaging or using biodegradable packaging? Probably but there are no clear incentives in the tax system for doing so, so supermarkets focus instead on price wars and sourcing the cheapest food possible from wherever they can.

    As enforcement of punitive/ incentive measures goes, individuals free-ride with impunity. My neighbour, who has 2 kids and 2 cars, produces 5 times as much weekly waste as I do. It does not matter that they recycle. So long as their contribution to landfill is 5 times mine, they are doing more damage to their children’s legacy than I am. Being a third-world denizen, I have always reduced and reused far before recycling became fashionable. I have always used shopping bags, bought loose produce and reused reusable bottles and jars instead of buying Tupperware.

    Further I think I do quite enough and frankly with no children or dogs to leave the planet to, I have a perverse incentive not to bother with the message at all since the refuse collectors do not check whose rubbish it is. (If they did my neighbour would be a hell lot more conscious of their 5 bags versus my 1 bag I think). Nobody can be traced so how can any incentive/ punitive system be applied?

    Interesting topic, can get emotional before it gets political.

    Comment by Shefaly — August 7, 2007 @ 10:31 am

  4. Thanks for your comments! I am glad this post brought forth the political aspect of climate change, and will soon update you with more. Renjith, your point about who is consuming China’s produce is particularly relevant.

    Shefaly, I don’t have an answer for you. But as you point out, Europe shows that things can be different. In one sense, Europeans think more about what they consume (and dispose). Similarly, there are incentives here to reduce junk and are both social and economic. For instance, recycling is almost “2nd nature” in Switzerland, though I suspect Indians still recycle more, by necessity. Further, in Zurich you have to throw garbage in special plastic bags that cost a pretty penny. So large families such as your neighbors do need to think about how many bags to fill. America, unfortunately is a whole different beast that thinks individual liberty is paramount.

    Comment by Dweep — August 7, 2007 @ 11:29 am

  5. Dweep: Funny you mention Switzerland.

    Switzerland recycles close to 80% of its waste,the UK less than 20%. So there you are right. What can be done with a population of 7M can be hard to replicate with a population of say 60M without giving the population a morality-changing operation of some sort and giving the system an overhaul for incentive/ punitive measures.

    In Switzerland, in my apartment block, they had separate containers for recycling and non-recyling rubbish in the basement (yes, next to the nuclear bunker where we had to keep supplies and this was just 10 years ago!). Once I mistakenly put a wrong thing in a bag, and I was traced and reprimanded by the housekeeper who then proceeded to give me a CHF 60 fine on the spot. Not just a process and a system, but an enforcement system.

    Switzerland however is hardly a model of community. The lift had a sign ‘Gentlemen may please sit down after 7′ (figure this one if you can) although most people are up early and pay no attention to the noises they make. Neighbours regularly squeal on each other to authorities and as a result, neighbourly relations are not much beyond froideur. So each apparently great system has its foibles and all we can do is learn from the better practices in each case.


    Comment by Shefaly — August 7, 2007 @ 12:10 pm

  6. Shefaly, the question of tracking and tracing consumption to charge taxes, is not a workable solution at least for countries like India in the immediate future.

    These punitive charges need to be collected at source, either from the manufacturer or from the consumer. So if ur neighbour buys 5 times more , then they need to pay 5 times more at the time of purchase, also if they buy Tupperware (ur example)instead of paper, they need to pay more for it. Also by the same logic, if the population of the developing world can reuse/recycle more than the developed world, they will end up paying lesser taxes than the developing world.

    This of course is not easy, for example, if the punitive taxes go to the goverment, would they ever kill the goose that lays golden eggs, or in other words may be counter productive to the whole objective !

    Comment by Renjith — August 7, 2007 @ 12:28 pm

  7. the issue has already been hotly debated on the IEB..?

    ref links on Carbon Tax

    Comment by Renjith — August 7, 2007 @ 1:11 pm

  8. Folks, Thanks for the debate. We need to look at this issue in a broader perspective. I believe we have reached a point on the earth, where environmental issues cannot be solved with simply using techno-economic solutions like hybrid cars, windmills, taxes on plastic bags, carbon trading etc. They are simply not enough. not enough.

    climate change is not the only environmental issue. Ok we will shift to cleaner energy. what about the forests being cut ? What about metals being mined on ecologically sensitive areas ? What about over fishing of oceans ? What about habitats being destroyed due to expansion of cities ? What about massive fertilizer and pesticide inputs to keep the food supply going ? What about thousands of hectares of land submerged for dams ? what about real-estate madness gripping almost every corner of India, converting agricultural land to residences ? What about sixth extinction ? Do we really think other species are somehow going to adjust to all this human activity ? see

    What we need is to competely rethink our place on the planet, and our relationship to world around us, and take up MORAL responsibility to what we are doing. It needs great personal sacrifices. The time for all this international politicking is over. The solutions must emerge from a sense of deep moral responsibility. We need to de-energize and de-materialize, and de-globalize our economies on a massive scale. This makes great strategic sense for India. Remember, we are not saudi arabia, we import what 60% of our energy ? maybe more. Crude is hitting 75 bucks. What the hell are we doing in India subsidizing petrol and creating energy guzzling economy ? Once the economy locks into energy consumption, it’s very difficult to change. THere’s lot of talk about peak oil from respected sources. We’ll be kaput if there’s an energy cruch. Anyway, iam going offtopic. Hope all this makes sense.

    Comment by Chaitanya — August 7, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

  9. Renjith: You echo my views in your comment. I had said earlier that ‘What can be done with a population of 7M can be hard to replicate with a population of say 60M without giving the population a morality-changing operation of some sort and giving the system an overhaul for incentive/ punitive measures’. So measures from smaller countries with a stagnant (more or less) growth rate are hardly going to be relevant to larger, growth economies like India or China… So Switzerland while nice to know is irrelevant for India…


    Comment by Shefaly — August 8, 2007 @ 2:03 am

  10. Each one to his own. Be it countries or individuals.
    What is appalling though is the refrain from Dr. Manmohan Singh himself for refusing to take action on Climate Change. I feel he should rather be taking the leadership role – try to convince China and take initiative to talk to business leaders in India to tackle Climate Change. We will not be able to solve the issues overnight, but starting to act is a good first step.
    Any idea what the Left is doing about it.

    Comment by Raj — August 8, 2007 @ 7:11 am

  11. Interesting – where id Dweep!!?? :-)

    Already several threads emerge here:

    Climate change as a solitary issue or as part of a spectrum of larger sustainability related issues;

    Policy measures from taxation of individuals to permits for businesses;

    Political leadership, political will, political certitude (where it will be useful to mention George Bush Sr, who at the Rio Summit in 1992 said ‘The American way of life is not up for negotiation’)

    What we have not yet discussed are:

    Evidence for and against climate change

    Evidence based policy making

    The interplay of past and future growth trajectories of nations

    How climate change is inextricably linked with international trade as well as consumption and consumer debt in developed economies

    Is there a left-right divide on this issue as Raj’s comment suggests?


    Comment by Shefaly — August 8, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

  12. Shefaly, here I am (sitting pretty in Switzerland :)
    I’m not quite convinced of what you say about “what is relevant to Switzerland isn’t to India”. The reason I mention Switzerland is to point out that incentives are not always economic – they can be social. So recycling can be desired or expected (as it is in the EU) – by contrast smoking is still “cool” here, while no longer in the US. Social values matter to how we address issues.

    That aside, I’d like to point all of you to the following by way of “evidence based policy making” (one more reference to follow – evidence of climate change here, here and here):

    Climate Change: India’s Possibilities, Positions, Policies and Possibilities
    Role of Economic Instruments in Mitigating Climate Emissions: Indian Perspective
    Government tells TERI to study climate change

    On the issue of India’s political leadership, I would not be too critical. I once advocated carbon tax or emission targets, but research seems to suggest this will hurt India’s short-term growth prospects too much. I also recognize that climate change policy is a political issue – not simply an economic one. In that context, India’s mere admittance that it is keen to seek climate change action weakens its bargaining position – which may explain its current stand to the contrary.

    Comment by Dweep — August 8, 2007 @ 8:07 pm

  13. “US, China and other major polluters ” -since when has CO2 become ‘pollution’? In that case we pollute every time we exhale.

    The best thing India can do about climate change is to do nothing at all -keep the focus exclusively on economic growth. Richer people are are healthier people and safer too, whatever the temperature outside.

    Comment by Gurmeet — August 9, 2007 @ 5:00 am

  14. Gurmeet

    We love your comments.

    Do you have to (ahem) shill for your blog in every comment of yours [grin]?

    Comment by Prashant — August 9, 2007 @ 7:49 am

  15. Dweep:

    On a given day the population of entire CH is less than the number that reportedly comes to work in the City in London. Combine the small number with a concentrated (it IS a very small country evern by continental standards), relatively homogenised (note that I did not say homogenous), rules-loving population and you have a lot of practices that look great but are basically non-transferable to bigger and more dispersed and diverse populations. Examples – the direct democracy practice, the rotational Presidency, the strict enforcement of recycling rules (as we discussed earlier). A system based on penalties can only work if it is enforced strictly else it is a mockery of itself.

    As another comment here says such enforcement is nigh impossible for larger countries, and dare I add to that, countries with greater sense of civil liberties.

    As for social and not necessarily economic incentives: Most people would consider such incentives worth their while when there is enough money in the bank for bills and food. Much as we can all aspire to live on a higher rung of Maslow’s hierarchy, one look at India’s consumeristic boom and you will know we are far from making that journey yet. Plenty of discussion on this blog also shows that economic incentives, if they are not sizable, also sometimes don’t pass muster. Don’t tell me you seriously believe social incentives can change behaviours in current day India! :-)

    In recent months, Dubya has changed his tune on climate change. I do not believe for a second it weakens the US’s bargaining position.

    PS: On smoking: Anything that involves 30+ year olds is a prevalent activity, not a ‘cool’ activity. There are changes afoot there too. France has effected a partial smoking ban, as has the UK. The reasoning is purely health based, but the argument is variously framed in terms of employer responsibilities, employee rights etc., and countered as too much Nanny state interference. Most employers however are complying, very strictly too. Attraction of social incentives? I do not think so. Fear of economic punitive measures? Possibly even definitely yes.

    Comment by Shefaly — August 9, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

  16. Prashant,
    thanks for the love. The answer is yes -I must toot my own trumpet since no one else will.

    Here is a little bit of interesting news for those in panic about Global warming(the ‘we must do something’ crowd)-
    “A change in climate history data at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies recently occurred which dramatically alters the debate over global warming. Yet, this transpired with no official announcement from GISS head James Hansen, and went unreported until Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit discovered it Wednesday.
    As McIntyre wrote Wednesday (emphasis added, h/t NBer dscott):

    There has been some turmoil yesterday on the leaderboard of the U.S. (Temperature) Open and there is a new leader.


    Four of the top 10 are now from the 1930s: 1934, 1931, 1938 and 1939, while only 3 of the top 10 are from the last 10 years (1998, 2006, 1999). Several years (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004) fell well down the leaderboard, behind even 1900.

    Most importantly, according to the GISS, 1998 is no longer the warmest year in American history. That honor once again belongs to 1934.”


    Sorry, but have to toot again. So here goes-

    Comment by Gurmeet — August 10, 2007 @ 3:12 am

  17. Gurmeet, i was wondering why no one has challenged your view point ‘since when has CO2 become ‘pollution’’?

    CO2 is indeed one of the main green house gases and does contribute to climate change, together with other causes like deforestation.

    i just did basic wiki and found this –

    Your other comment as to India shouldnt do anything at all and keep developing – Again going by that logic, US would never have been one of the biggest emitters of green house gases ?

    I know i am giving you another chance to blow your own trumpet, so go ahead :)

    Comment by Renjith — August 10, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

  18. Gurmeet says above that \”I must toot my own trumpet since no one else will\”

    Inserting the URL into EVERY comment, when the link has no relevance to your comment, becomes gratuitous after a point.

    Comment by Prashant — August 10, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

  19. Gurmeet, I will support Renjith’s point above. At least in the US context, the US Supreme Court has established in a landmark ruling of Massachusetts vs. the EPA that CO2 is a pollutant.

    For some history, you can look here.

    Comment by Dweep — August 10, 2007 @ 7:41 pm

  20. Nice to be getting attention.

    That Co2 is considered a pollutant is of course absurd- though that absurdity is lost on some savants.A pollutant is(according to a dictionary)-”Waste matter that contaminates the water or air or soil”

    So what is the criteria for labeling it a pollutant-
    1)The US Supreme Court said so?
    2)It contributes to Global Warming?

    As to(1), scientific matters are not decided by a majority in a courtroom(in this case the decision was a narrow 5-4).So what if the court decision had been the reverse? Would then those who think that CO2 is a pollutant stop believing so?

    As to(2), if contribution to GW is the criteria then there are plenty of other things that can be labeled as pollutants-e.g. Water vapor(which has a much stronger green house effect than CO2),deforestation, other land change use, methane from the farts of the cattle(whose contribution to GW is estimated to be as much as that of all cars put together). And since when is contributing to GW considered pollution and what for? You all are debasing the meaning of pollution.

    So let’s consider evaporation from lakes and seas as pollution. Let’s have an emissions policy for the cattle. Let the cows purchase fart-credits before they emit anything.

    The clamor to call CO2 a pollutant is simply a ploy, a device to be able to demonise and to regulate it -it passes no scientific muster.

    An interesting primer on Massachusetts vs. the EPA (written before the decision) -

    what do you have against gratuitous? So just to bug you once more-

    Comment by Gurmeet — August 11, 2007 @ 4:03 am

  21. Renjith,
    I am running out of time, so I will just quote-

    “But in the history of trade-offs, never has there been a better one than trading a tiny amount of global warming for a massive amount of global prosperity.

    Earth got about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer in the 20th century while it increased its GDP by 1,800 percent, by one estimate. How much of that 0.7 degrees can be laid at the feet of that 1,800 percent is unknowable, but let’s stipulate that all of the warming was the result of our prosperity and that this warming is in fact indisputably bad (which is hardly obvious).

    That’s still an amazing bargain. Life expectancies in the United States increased from about 47 years to about 77 years. Literacy, medicine, leisure and even, in many respects, the environment have improved mightily over the course of the 20th century, at least in the prosperous West.

    Given the option of getting another 1,800 percent richer in exchange for another 0.7 degrees warmer, I’d take the heat in a heartbeat. Of course, warming might get more expensive for us (and we might get a lot richer than 1,800 percent too). ”


    So lets get rich at full speed and then we can have he luxury and leisure to worry about if anthropogenic global warming is real and/or such a bad thing.

    you are in luck. No tooting this time.

    Comment by Gurmeet — August 11, 2007 @ 4:28 am

  22. Hi All,

    Very interesting conversation.

    the basic question you ask is – How can India which desperately needs climate change action take leadership in these matters without damaging itself?

    My 2 cents worth speculation on the issue.

    Adaptive policies -

    1. legalise weather and environmental futures speculation. legalise speculation on rainfall amounts, sea levels and temperatures at various points, glacier melting, forest cover, etc. A well developed satta market (or idea futures market, as Robin Hanson calls them) on these issues will provide valuable information today, and incentivise the collection of more accurate data tomorrow. Tomorrow’s satellites could be funded by firms seeking to make a killing on the rain forecasts of next year. Potential participants in this market can be consumer goods firms, or retail firms whose businesses are connected very intimately to immediate consumer demand.
    We need better data, reliable data, better models.

    So, once we have the better data, we can predict climate change effects better and prepare for whatever pyscho-mother-nature is going to dish out.

    2. Better urban planning – Since we will most assuredly either run out of the abuses we can heap on the atmosphere, or run out of oil before that, we need to prepare for a future without oil. design good public transport.

    3. Leverage IT to increase telecommuting.

    4. Seriously investigate into Terra Prata / biochar.

    Negotiation strategies

    1. Insist on complete models that take into account every fringe, even kooky concept of the reason for global warming, including the cosmic rays stuff ( ).
    2. Insist on models that take into account the medevial warm period and everything that the global warming deniers play out.(
    Basically, Try to check, recheck and triple check everything just to make sure the science unambiguously points to anthropogenic global warming.

    3. Openly advocate reversible geo-engineering in preference to greenhouse gas emission reduction. ( putting particulate matter in high atmosphere, seeding cloud banks, increasing the earth’s albedo, creating algal blooms and then skimming them off). the advantage with this process is that we can manage with a slightly higher tax the price that we pay. it need not be as severe as global green house gas reduction would be to us.

    4. If all the above fail, then we need to insist on per-capita basis of green house gas emission and not overall quotas per nation. That will be the only straw left to cling on.

    Comment by Prakash — August 12, 2007 @ 3:13 am

  23. The climate Change is already there and it is going to increase day by day and its consequences to India according to Nitin Desai,secretary-general,World Summit on Sustainable Development,are very devastating.It is said that due to the accelerated melting of Glaciers in the Himalayas,River Ganges will face extreme floods for a short time while water scarcity will during july-september will cause drought that will cause unbearable misery for 50 crores of people and 37 percent of agriculture.
    It is a pity,the World Bank suggests further investment of $1500 billion annually by the poor countries to tackle the problems of climate Change.
    In Australia and China,almost all the Meteorological Experts have recently organised international conferences on how to tackle the impacts of emerging global warming and arrived at an unanimous decision that cloud seeding is the most potent weapon to fight the recurring droughts and Global warming impacts.
    But in India,the prime minister and the members of the planning commissionprefer to don the role of King Nero who reported to be fiddling while Rome was on fire.The secretaries to the Central and state Governments who revel at being not at all accountable for their actions opt to be silent spectators because the elected representatives in parliament and state legislatures will not be interested in Questioning the actions of the Ministers and the Bureaucrats why they refuse to copy the examples of China in adopting cloud seeding to save the farmers and national economy.I sncerely feel that if rural poverty is to be eradicated,the easiest way is to make available more water to the poor people because wter is the BLUE GOLD,an economic resourcefoundation over which the edifice of public health and welfare can be strongly built.

    since we are using only the conventional surface and ground water resources which are not only dwindling day day but are also getting polluted to become detrimental public use,we are spreading poverty,unemployment,disease and diseconomy in the society .

    I thought the only way to serve the rural poor is to tap more water from the clouds in the sky as has been proposed in USA in 1962 and continued in 40 countries since 40 years.

    The success story of cloud seeding in China is presented in Thwe Hindu dated 14-6-2007 by MsPallavi .Aiyer,the Hindu correspondent from Beijing.Unfortunately no body seems to to have read it.

    I have written a book on cloud seeding to fight the droughts in India,available free online at the web:

    kidly send any suggestions on this subject
    prof.T.Shivaji Rao.
    Director,centre for environment,Gitam engineering college,visakhapatnam.
    Expert,cloud seeding project of government of Andhra pradesh.E-mail;

    Comment by prof.T.shivaji Rao,Environmentalist — August 13, 2007 @ 10:37 pm

  24. Prof Shivaji Rao, Glad to have you on this blog.

    So you are suggesting cloud seeding as one of the measures to adapt from possible drought situations caused by climate change. fair enough. If push comes to shove, i have no doubt India will adopt this kind of weather manipulations to keep the industrial system going a little bit longer. There is nothing radical in that. We already live in a techo-centric society. And our technocrats are only eager to adopt measures from “advanced” countries.

    What i would like to ask you, a veteran on environmental issues, is, how long can the planet take this kind of manipulation of ecosystems without causing complete ecological collapse ? Iam not suggesting cloud seeding itself will cause the eco collapse. But surely cloud seeding is part of the philosophy of continued engineering of nature, to suit our interests. Shooting silver iodide from rocket launchers, to cause rain ? To ensure clear skies on Olympic ceremony day ? There is something disturbing in that picture, that i can’t quite put into words. As you already know, we already massively manipulate naturally evolved systems to the point of *genetic* engineering. Are humans better engineers than Nature ?

    Isn’t climate change a hint for us to relook at our strategy with respect to economy-ecology interaction ? Shouldn’t we be addressing the root causes of climate change instead of fire-fighting the symptoms like drought ?

    Comment by Chaitanya — August 14, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

  25. [...] The Politics of Climate Change August 15th, 2007 — Suhit Anantula Dweep at the Indian Economy blog points to this article on FT by Eric Posner and Cass Sunstein. Although most nations now consider climate change a serious problem, they cannot agree on how to tackle it. [...]

    Pingback by World is Green : Business Strategy and Sustainability | The Politics of Climate Change « — August 15, 2007 @ 6:38 am

  26. Your comment such as”Shouldn’t we be addressing the root causes of climate change instead of fire-fighting the symptoms like drought ? ” is very correct.But when almost all the Prime ministers and Presidents of various countries have desisted from donning the roles of statesmen in preference to opting to be selfish business men with their tunnel vision restricted to their terms of reelection to office to retain it at any cost and for ther purpose plan development activities that promote their short-term slush money acquisitionmethods through forest destruction under the guise of leasing out forest clearance licences for conservation,how can any one of theUN agencies who know the truth prevent this naked rape of Nature that inevitably makes Nature take vengence against mankind by reordering its own manipulative capabilities of Global Warming with its ramifications in the forms of extremes of climate ,resulting in Droughts,Floods,extreme heat,melting of Glaciers,desertification and damage to the healthy eco-systems?While macro-economics tries to safe-guard global interests,micro-economics in its local settings under short-sighted politicians,politicians and bureaucrats is going to wreck havoc to man and Nature,particularly at a time when the educated people in Schools ,colleges and Universities have given up their social responsibility to protect the Environment as envisaged by people’s leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and environmentalist prime ministers like Indira Gandhi who amended Indian Constitution to include Art.51A[g] to make it the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect the Air,water,forests and wild life and to develop compassion for all living creatures.Hence it is the people who are failing to discharge their duties as per constitution and hence whom shall we blame for the growings ills in the fields of Environment and development,when development activities are planned not on ecologically sound -lines but only with the sole objective of making money at any cost by the people in the seats of power.
    Let the intellectuals take a positive role to debate on the environmental impacts of all major development projects so that they will not become counter-productive in the long run and thereby promote poverty,sickness,unemployment and social unrest that ultimately lead to terrorism and block world peace which is essential for sustainable development of man and Nature.In this context,Cloud seeding is the only weapon that is used by China by employing 37,000 technicians to extract 66 to 65 billion cubic meters of additional annual rainfall,equivalent to the annual flow in a major river like Krishna river in South India and that too at the cheapest cost of U.S.$0.02 per cubic meter.I feel that apathy to promote cloud seeding by Indian Meteorologists,Bureaucrats,Ministers at the central and state levels amounts to their abetting with vested business lobby who profit from people’s miseries as sketched out by a noted Journalist,P.Sainath,Rural Editor of THE HINDU.
    prof.T.Shivaji Rao,
    Director,centre for Environmental studies,
    Gotam University,Visakhapatnam.India.and
    Expert,cloud seeding project,Government of A.P.state

    Comment by prof.T.Shivaji Rao,Environmentalist — August 29, 2007 @ 6:48 am

  27. [...] Ambassador Dasgupta, in spite of his substantive insights on climate change policy negotiation, has mistaken ethics for politics. Any future agreement on climate change must confirm – not to the framework convention – but to what rich and poor countries agree to give and take. Mr. Dasgupta repeats the standard Indian line of “common but differentiated responsibility”, but the sad irony is that standing on a pedestal and reading the principles of the UNFCCC will neither solve the problem (of climate change) that threatens the poor, nor offer the poor any say in a solution that eventually develops. [...]

    Pingback by Climate Change Challenge for the Poor at The Discomfort Zone — September 27, 2007 @ 12:31 pm

  28. Cloud seeding is the only means of augmenting water supplies to drought-prone people and Nature for ensuring their survival.Planning commission members,union Ministers and secretaries to Government of India are immersed in preventing cloud seeding that helps poor people and wild life and forests which help to sustain life systems.Most scientists do not know the uses of cloud seeding to augment water supplies by squeezing the clouds that have ten times more water than that contained by all fresh water sources on earth.Let intellectuals educate the central and state ministers and secretaries on cloud seeding by taking the example of China,thailand,Japan,Israil,Texas,and Australia.Let them study the book on cloud seeding authored by me which is available online at the web site:

    Comment by prof.T.Shivaji Rao,Environmentalist — October 13, 2007 @ 9:13 pm

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