On Sunday, Australia unveiled a far-reaching plan to tax carbon emissions, which could hold a lesson or two for India.
Under the plan, 500 firms would pay Australian $23 per tonne as carbon tax from next year. This will go up by 2.5% every year and move to a trading scheme by 2015. To ensure that “dirty” industries are not killed, the government would spend A$9.2 billion in the first three years of the scheme to help them.
If Australia, one of the big polluters of the developed world, can clean up its act without any external pressure, so can other countries.
The key is not to get derailed by sterile ideological debates, but to create innovative financial trading schemes and build a green political and economic constituency. India has done none of this; its greens are simply out of touch with economic realities. The sooner they do so, the faster India will go green.