India’s opposition to carbon tax justified
The EU-proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism at the climate conference was highly discriminatory to India and other developing nations. The mechanism was designed to tax, with effect from 2026, products that are carbon intensive.
At the climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, India did well to join Brazil, South Africa and China in opposing the move for the carbon border tax. Observers say the European Union-proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism at the climate conference was highly discriminatory to India and other developing countries.
The mechanism was designed to tax, with effect from 2026, products that are carbon intensive. India cannot afford this at present from its economic viewpoint.
In view of its age-old emphasis on promoting unity between man and environment, India has always been very much aware of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save climate. The country has long been looking for more alternative energy sources for its sustainable development. It is already the world's third largest renewable energy producer. Over 40 per cent of India's energy capacity today comes from renewable sources only.
India today ranks fifth in the world regarding usable hydropower potential. It has the fourth largest wind power capacity in the world. However, India is unable to dispense with fossil fuel overnight. The country is largely dependent on fossil fuel for its energy need and economic dynamism. Coal is the country's top energy source with a share of 44 per cent in 2021, followed by oil (24%), biomass (22%), natural gas (6%) and hydro, nuclear, solar, and wind (4%).
India has had thus an evolutionary approach to its transition to carbon neutrality. The industrialised nations would do well to appreciate India's need to use fossil fuels during its transition to clean energy. The industrialised nations could focus on the need to compensate for the continued suffering of the poor nations on account of the former's greenhouse emissions. They could also use their advanced economic status to introduce new technologies and facilitate their transfers to the poor nations so that the latter could increasingly move towards clean energy.
Regrettably, the industrialised nations have had double standards on the issue of saving climate. They press the developing nations to reduce carbon emissions but they themselves practice otherwise. It has been observed that there has been a significant increase in some developed nations' production and consumption of fossil fuels in the recent past. Also, some of them just relocate their carbon-producing units to other countries and project themselves as genuinely concerned for environment. It is high time the industrialized nations took to self-introspection and made substantial moves for the sake of environment.
(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)
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