15 January 2010

India after Copenhagen: the impact and opportunity for Indian business


India after Copenhagen: the impact and opportunity for Indian business

Shyam Saran spoke about the interconnectedness of Climate change issues with national economic interests – the reason for the presence of several heads of state at Copenhagen. As a result of a lack of consensus, the agreement at Copenhagen was not substantive. The advanced economies are anxious to ensure that climate change issues do not exacerbate the economic crisis in their countries, in addition to providing an advantage to emerging economies such as China and India. Thus, the US and several developed countries do not want emerging economies to receive a free pass with regard to emission standards while the advanced economies bear punitive costs. Mr. Saran discussed the opportunities for Indian business – Companies reducing long-term costs by going Green, investing in renewable energy because of our future energy security needs.  At current projected rates: By 2031, India will be importing 90% of our oil and 2/3rd to 3quarters of our coal, so the move to alternate energy sources like solar and wind energy is essential. In his opinion however a global shift from fossil fuel to clean energy will not take place unless there is price to carbon. In that sense, emission reduction targets must be made ambitious; failing to do so would ensure the cost of carbon remains low. According to Mr. Saran, the future outlook is more of the same as long as the financial crisis is the main preoccupation for most nations. Businesses will not take the lead unless they get significant support from the government. Mr. Saran’s address was followed by a series of questions and back and forth dialogue with the businessmen in the audience.