Manish Bapna, the Executive Vice President of the World Resources Institute, discusses the future of climate change developments in India.
A native of Chicago, I spent my childhood summers with family in Udaipur, Rajasthan, then a verdant oasis in India's most arid state. With each successive year, I witnessed with dismay the surrounding forests and lakes shrinking and drying up as factories and mines sprouted outside the city. My family, however, took it in stride as ďthe price we pay for development.Ē
I have never forgotten that firsthand lesson in environmental degradation, and in what seemed to me an unnecessary trade-off. What my family was faithfully expressing was the decades-old belief, held by India's government and business elites, that development often comes at the expense of the environment. In recent years, that belief has been extended to climate change. India cannot be expected to act to reduce its spiraling greenhouse gas emissions without outside help, its diplomats have argued until recently, because combating poverty is a moral imperative and the national priority.