Wednesday, August 5, 2009

India Hits Back Over Western Demands That it Cut its Emissions

It was bound to happen - constant harangues on several talk radio shows and on Fox television against India and China on emissions were expected to bring a tit for tat statement and here it is: As someone who lived just overlooking the Vadapalani Bus Terminus at Gowri Chitra Gardens, I have a somewhat different take on this, however. Let us not kid ourselves - India's air is filthy. And if a "better lifestyle" is what India is aspiring to, then that should include cleaner air and water. It does not make sense if Indians can buy Rolls Royces or Bentleys and if they have to breathe in filth the moment they step out of them and no longer have air filtered through carbon filters available to them. There is also the matter of health, and when I last checked, that was also a lifestyle issue - recent reports suggest that as many as 70% of Kolkata residents may have lung infections of some kind. The percentages in other cities should be similar.

While this is not going to be easy under any circumstances, I do think that India would be able to do both - work towards implementing more Renewable Energy projects (especially solar power) and advance towards a better lifestyle for Indians at the same time. Fossil fuel resources are currently held by a few nations that have been fortunate to have them located on their territory. And these are running out. Countries like India have access to abundant sunlight and they need to focus on this as a resource and develop a model that works in this context. It is not an impossible task. Some positive steps are being taken in this direction, no doubt. I wish that there would be more, and that they would be taken faster.

Let us not forget that a full 50% of all the money that India earns goes towards paying for fuel. All of this could, technically, be available for other "lifestyle" projects if it were not sent out of the country to pay for coal and crude oil.

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