India has done well to resist pressure from developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050.
It was believed that a decision on the subject was possible at the G-8 summit in Italy. While there was consensus that temperatures ought not to rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius and worldwide emissions should be cut by 50%, there was no agreement on reaching that goal.
Countries such as the US have enacted laws that mandate emission cuts of up to 83% over baseline years. These emission cuts are phased in a manner that heavy reductions will come at least a decade later. That leaves difficult political choices to be made later.
Countries such as India don’t have that luxury. If India has to cut emissions by 50% by 2050, cuts will have to be front-loaded and will have to begin soon. Unlike the US, India has neither the technology nor the money to sequence cuts. And the political costs will be immediate. In the absence of developed country financial and technological assistance, a climate change deal will remain what it is now: a dream.