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‘Don’t tag India with China in emission targets’

Chennai, July 20 (Calcutta Tube) India should ensure it is not clubbed with China in carbon emission mitigation efforts as this will be costly for the country, a leading economist Tuesday warned.

Also, India should not succumb to pressure tactics of the western world like imposition of carbon tax on its exports, said Arvind Panagariya, professor of economics at Columbia University in New York.

‘While developed countries will start carbon emission mitigation activities first, China will soon follow suit. Getting tagged along with China now will be disadvantageous for India in the future,’ he said, delivering the 4th SAGE-Madras School of Economics Endowment Lecture on ‘Climate Change and the Developing Countries’.

He said barring China, other developing countries are not major emitters of carbon. India is a distant second to China when it comes to emissions.

According to him India ranks behind China, US, European Union and Russia when it comes to emissions by individual nations. China’s emissions are 4.7 times that of India’s and so there is no case for India to be clubbed with its neighbour on the issue of climate change and mitigation efforts.

He said on per capita emission basis US ranks first followed by Canada, South Korea and Germany.

Panagariya dismissed attempts at imposing of carbon tax by advanced nations on their imports from China and India.

‘The legality of carbon tax is questionable. India and China can contest the same at World Trade Organisation (WTO). More over India’s import tariffs are far less than what WTO has permitted. As such India too can up its tariff barriers,’ he said.

According to him, the carbon tax liability will be lower than what a country is expected to spend on emission mitigation.

He said poor countries are affected more vulnerable to climate – the vagaries of climate/nature’s fury – than climate change which is of secondary importance.

‘Meeting this challenge requires focus on adaptation whereas climate change calls for mitigation efforts. Adaptation and mitigation are contradictory in nature,’ he said.

Protecting people from climate in the form of better shelters, provision of electricity, good houses, and better transportation in developing countries will lead to higher emissions, he admitted, adding that it however assumes more importance than others.

According to him, the developed nations have to show the way in emission mitigation and developing countries will come on board later.

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