The roots of India's emissions skepticism

George Monbiot defends India's continued refusal to agree to GHG emissions reduction targets:
... it has almost been a point of pride in India not to respond to the requests of richer nations to limit its emissions.

I think there are several reasons for this, not all of them discreditable. The first is that Indian people and governments have rightly perceived that when it comes to acting on climate change, most developed countries are all leaf and no plums. They make grand statements (remember the G8 meeting) about the need to cut emissions, but in most cases they haven't been translating them into domestic policy (the UK is now an exception). With some justice, India has suspected that it is being urged to implement global policies that the rich nations have no intention of honouring.

Indians are also painfully aware that the rich nations in the past deliberately prevented their nation from developing. England, for example, banned the import of calico (cotton cloth) from India, in order to protect its own textile industries. It went on to smash Indian looms and cut off the thumbs of Indian weavers in order prevent them from making their superior products. As Ha Joon Chang shows in his book Kicking Away the Ladder, England's industrial revolution was made possible by preventing India's. Many people there suspect that attempts to limit India's future greenhouse gas emissions have the same purpose.
India has every right to be skeptical. On the other hand, it will be very hard to foster a global consensus on emissions reductions if key nations - maybe even just one, like India - insist on "taking care of themselves". What a game-theoretic conundrum.

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