Climate change and India: implications and policy options

Climate change and India: implications and policy options This paper by Arvind Panagariya says that India does not fall into the category of "big league" emitters like China. With nearly 300 million people living below the poverty line, India needs urgent and lasting development and it would be inconceivable for India to cap its emissions yet.
This paper discusses the climate change in India during the last century and its implications for the physical phenomena such as drought, cyclones, sea levels and melting of glaciers. It considers the predictions of temperature and rainfall changes in the 21st century, how they would impact agriculture, health, migration patterns and poverty and the measures India would need to take to adapt. The main conclusion is that while climate change will likely add to the intensity of weather related extreme events and the associated problems, rapid growth in the next two decades will also better prepare the country to adapt to them. It turn to the basic economics of policy action to regulate GHG emissions. It is devoted principally to the efficiency issue and focuses on the optimal solution and appropriate choice of instruments to regulate global GHG emissions. An important conclusion is that assuming risk-neutral behavior, even if the costs of GHG emissions in the form of droughts, floods and economic damage are uncertain, emission tax and tradable permits are perfect substitutes as policy instruments. What distinguishes them is the difference in the rent-seeking behavior they are likely to engender. It also turn to the distributional issue: who should pay for the costs of mitigation? A critical issue here is the treatment of costs imposed by past emissions. It also report the results of numerical simulations to bring out the source of conflict between developed and populous developing countries with respect to the costs of mitigation. It discusses the current state of play in mitigation at both international and national levels.

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