India’s Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is also the Information and Broadcasting Minister, has no less than on three different occasions boasted about how India is the only country among the G20 nations to be fulfilling the Paris Climate Agreement commitments, particularly those relating to renewable energy and afforestation. The latest of this boastful chest-thumping came on the floor of the Rajya Sabah on Monday by the Minister. Last year, no less than Prime Minister Modi himself had asserted the same. While it is definitely a cause of celebration for India to note, and also publicise that it is the only country in G20 implementing the Paris agreement commitments, it is also a testament to India’s ‘good boy’ syndrome.
The same ‘good boy’ syndrome which, in the world of cut-throat diplomacy and economic competitiveness, will serve no good. Is climate change a major issue which the world is faced with? Yes. Should it be addressed immediately? Most definitely. Should so-called “first world countries” take the lead in battling climate change? Of course. However, nobody seems concerned about the world at large, and is continuing to work for their own interests even in the G20. Now, should that change? Absolutely, and that is where India must focus its energies.
India must not become the only major world power to be waging a lone battle against climate change, while its own economy is yet to fully blossom. We are a young country with an economy whose fullest extent has not yet been reached, let alone unleashed. Therefore, working in complete obedience to the Paris Climate Accord can prove to be detrimental to India, a G20 nation, and its economic interests. That does not mean we must abandon the Paris Agreement. What it means, however, is that India and the Modi government must be more balanced in its approach to tackling climate change while also ensuring that the same has no adverse impact on our bustling and upward-trajected economy.
India should not work alone when it comes to the battle against climate change, as that will have close to no net positive impact, but will most definitely affect the country’s economy in ways not thought of by many. What India should instead focus on, is making sure that the G20 countries at the very least, honour their Paris Agreement commitments as well. That, indeed, will be a mark of India asserting itself as a ‘Vishwaguru’, rather than working mindlessly alone trying to combat climate change, only to hurt itself.
To be very frank, nobody cares – internationally if India is the only powerful country complying with the Paris accord. Every nation is simply busy working on their own economies and strengthening them, with little to no concern about the climate. Countries like Brazil, Turkey, the United States, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, etc are members of the G20. Also, a member of the powerful body is China. One would be insane to think that such countries are working as much as they should to bring about fruition to a much noble idea of alleviating the world’s climate woes.
So, for India to go around the world claiming that it is the only G20 country honouring its commitments is a bit absurd. What India should instead focus on is showing the stick to bigger countries, which emit more and have larger carbon footprints, to start behaving themselves. Yet, for reasons best known to the government, the country is being projected as a lone warrior against climate change – although the same will yield no results and will impress nobody except some climate vigilantes.
In fact, despite India’s concerted efforts, the likes of eco-fascist Greta Thunberg continue to defame and deride our country for its supposed anti-climate workings. So, who are we really impressing? The need of the hour is that the Modi government redirects its energies from being a lone ranger, to a compliance-ensuring body, which makes sure that G20 countries abide by the Paris Agreement. If not, it makes no sense for India to alone try and save the world – because it cannot. We should then simply focus on strengthening our economy while adopting eco-friendly measures and policies devised domestically.