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Deepak asked: What is the difference between the Indian and the Chinese approach on issues of global environmental concern?

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  • Avinash Godbole replies: There are more commonalities than differences between the Indian and the Chinese approach on issues of global environmental concern, such as the debate on global climate change. A common approach on the issue of climate change brings the two countries together within the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) framework. As large developing countries, their common concern is about the carbon space that they need in order to develop their economies and improve the living standards of their population. They also have common concern with regard to the provision for finance and technology and capacity building, before they take on any commitments about capping and ultimately reducing their gross national emissions.

    However, there are areas where owing to different conditions the approach of the two countries might also differ. For example:

    1. China’s per capita and gross emissions are higher than that of India. This is primarily because a large amount of products made in Chinese factories are for exports. To make these products, China still relies on coal which is not always efficient and leads to higher emissions. China is home to some of the world’s most polluting industries and companies.

    2. China is negotiating with the United States on a bilateral climate deal which could be a game changer as far as the global agreement on the issue is concerned. The US and China are two largest Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emitters and their deal could boost the prospect of a global deal or could even derail it. Nearly a dozen other developed countries like Japan and Germany have bilateral energy deals with China that helps it improve efficiency and reduce emissions per unit of the GDP produced.

    3. China’s approach to dealing with issues of global environmental concern is relatively more globalised than that of India.

    Posted on August 13, 2014