Much of the scolding over the supposedly India-led weakening of the commitment to phase down rather than phase out coal at the conclusion of COP 26, the recent climate change conference in Glasgow, came from developed economies eager to deflect attention from their own limited contribution to solutions to the crisis of global warming.
Indeed, India has suffered more than most because of climate change for which it bears little, if any, responsibility.
Speaking at a summit organized by the multinational investment bank JP Morgan in September, Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani quoted a Stanford University study that showed that India’s GDP would have been 31% greater today had there been no climate change. Overall, he added, climate change has exacerbated by 25% the gap between developed and developing countries.
Poor, hot countries have disproportionately suffered, while cooler countries in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia, have been the undisputed beneficiaries of global warming. If the ecological impact of the industrial revolution has been perilous, the economic impact, for select countries, has been transformative. Alok Sharma, a British cabinet minister and president of COP 26, choked back tears as he apologized to international delegates “for the way this process has unfolded”.
He later told journalists that that though the agreement signed at the conference was a “historic achievement”, it remained a “fragile win” and that China and India would “have to explain themselves and what they did to the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world.”