The U.S.-India climate pact has the potential to aid sustainable post-pandemic development
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Many developed countries tend to view India’s reluctance to commit to a net zero emissions target as recalcitrance, but the climate change crisis originated not here but in the industrialized world, which has used up much of the world’s carbon space. A forward-looking policy should, therefore, envision green development anew, providing funding and green technologies as compensation for the emissions space lost by poorer countries. This is a win-win game, since it would aid sustainable development, boost employment, clean up the environment and, crucially, help all countries emerge healthier from the pandemic.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced enhanced ambition at the summit for Britain to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 over 1990 levels, advanced the agenda by calling for climate funding by rich nations to exceed the decade-old goal of $100 billion. For the India-U.S. agreement to yield results, Mr. Biden would have to persuade industry and research institutions at home to share knowledge and subsidies transfer of technologies. He has won commendations for steering America around from the science-deprived Trump years and announcing enhanced ambition: cuts in emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030 over 2005 levels. But much of his climate effort will rely on executive authority, rather than bipartisan support. With political will on both sides, the engagement with India can become a model.