India now has a national action plan for climate change. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled it on Monday, almost a year since preliminary work on the plan began.
The two core ideas in the plan—to move from fossil fuels to renewables and to increase energy efficiency— are sound. But there is little clarity on how this is to be done. Do we need a climate czar, as one writer suggested in this newspaper on Friday.
Such details matter. India will also have to manage the effects of climate change. In that sense, the very act of coming out with a plan is a welcome signal about the government’s intent.
But a national plan will have its limitations. More work needs to be done at two other levels. One, the price mechanism should play a role, through cuts in fuel subsidies and taxes on carbon emissions. Two, there is no escaping the fact that climate change is a global problem; and India needs to be part of a global deal, without sacrificing growth or national interest.