As large emerging economies, India and China have usually seen eye to eye on climate change negotiations, if not other matters. The two countries have vocally resisted Western attempts to enforce emission cuts. But what if China abandoned this resistance?
That may have seemed far-fetched until recently, but it’s something India’s negotiators should watch out for. A top official at a key Chinese policymaking body told the Financial Times over the weekend that “China’s emissions will not continue to rise beyond 2050”. A report, to which the same body has contributed, goes as far as to recommend quantitative reduction targets to ensure that emissions slow by 2020, and begin to fall in 2030.
Even if this isn’t the final word on China’s emissions policy, India has to realize how its bargaining power will weaken if its biggest partner on the negotiating table defects. China may be able to rely on alternative technology, but India still can’t. We shouldn’t be cornered into signing an agreement that dooms our growth potential.