Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University; Former Undersecretary of Energy (Acting) and Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy
Director, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI); Former Secretary of State for Climate Change, Government of Spain (2008-2011)
Vice Chancellor, TERI University, New Delhi, India
Senior Fellow and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program, Council on Foreign Relations
Experts discuss global climate diplomacy ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21/CMP11) in Paris.
This symposium is cosponsored by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and the International Institutions and Global Governance Program.
LEVI: Good morning. Welcome to this Council on Foreign Relations Symposium on the Paris Climate Summit and Beyond. I am Michael Levi. I lead the Center for Geoeconomic Studies here at the Council on Foreign Relations. And it is my privilege to host this symposium, together with our Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, led by Stewart Patrick, who will be moderating our first session.
The subject for today’s event is a perfect fit for both our Center for Geoeconomic Studies and our International Institutions and Global Governance program. The Geoeconomic Center aims to help people understand what’s happening at the intersection of international economics, international relations, and foreign policy. And climate change is an issue squarely at the intersection of all three.
Our program, International Institutions and Global Governance, which is generously supported by the Robina Foundation, is—has a mission to explore the international requirements for world order in the 21st century. And there are few challenges to world order and few challenges to governance that are more difficult than climate change.
We’ve had a fantastic relationship working with the program. Really since its inception in 2008, climate has been integral to what it’s done. And its newest product will be released later today, an interactive guide to climate change governance. So refresh your link to CFR.org all day, and at some point you will see a great tool for exploring this landscape.
I also want to thank Richard Haass and Jim Lindsay for their leadership on this issue, integrating it into this pantheon of foreign policy issues we focus on, and Lindsay Iverson and our Hold Meetings team for making today’s event happen.
I went back over the weekend to the last big climate symposium that we hosted here at the Council on Foreign Relations. It was called Countdown to Copenhagen. It was hosted in early November 2009. And I just wanted to get a sense of the mood and the context at that symposium.
The first thing that jumped out to me is that it was pessimistic from the outset. There was a sense of impending collapse. The basic question being asked on the panel was how bad will the conference go? There was a focus on essentially Kyoto round two. What will the targets be? What will the timetables be?
U.S. action was unclear. There was a debate over Waxman-Markey and cap and trade raging. U.S.-China cooperation was tentative at best. And the technology background was distinct. No one had really heard of the shale gas revolution. Solar panels were costing over $5 a watt.
And if I look at what’s happening today, we have a different set of circumstances across the board. At least among people who want to see greater action on climate change, there’s a general mood of optimism about Paris. Kyoto isn’t really part of the discussion anymore. In the United States you have EPA regulations moving forward, being debated, but a fundamentally different construct from Waxman-Markey and cap and trade. You have the United States and China seemingly every six months or so announcing a new piece of cooperation on the subject.
And on the technology front, you have a fundamentally different picture. You have, at least in this country, the shale gas boom and you have, just to take one example, solar panels at the utility scale costing less than $1.50 a watt installed; so a fundamentally different world and a great time to take stock of where we are and where we can and should be going.
And we’re going to do that today with three sessions. The first session, which my colleague Stewart Patrick is going to moderate, will be focused squarely on Paris, on understanding what the opportunities are, what the hurdles are, what the potential outcomes are. I’ll moderate a second session focused on international cooperation and governance beyond Paris. We have a whole constellation of efforts globally that Paris fits into.
And because that isn’t broad enough, the whole of international cooperation isn’t broad enough, we will have a third keynote session in which Richard Haass will be talking to former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is now, among many other things, U.N. special envoy for cities and climate change. And we’ll take as broad a lens as possible, from the local to the global, to really understand the different forces at work and opportunities available for tackling climate change.
So thank you again for joining us this morning. And I’ll turn things over to Stewart. (Applause.)
PATRICK: Thank you very much, Michael.
I want to join him in welcoming you to this symposium, and particularly this first session on Paris.
I also want to just reiterate to everybody that this is on the record, all of the sessions, and that we’ll be live-streaming this as well too. So your pearls of wisdom will be archived for posterity, as will all the members of the panel.
Our goal for this session is to focus really squarely on Paris. I’ve asked our three panelists to serve essentially as travel guides for—we’re all going to be on a trip to Paris here, and we need to know what we’re going to be seeing. We’d like to have some of the landmarks put into context. We’d like to know why certain things matter and what’s at stake, and perhaps offering some predictions about what the outcomes of this two-week gathering will be.
And we couldn’t ask for better tour guides than the ones that we have here. You have their bios, so I won’t go into any great detail on them. But just briefly, we have Teresa Ribera, director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations in Paris. We have David Sandalow, inaugural fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and Leena Srivastava, who is vice chancellor at TERI University in New Delhi.
And all three of these individuals, who bring unique national and international perspectives to this problem, have been toiling in these fields for quite some time and are extremely well placed to tell us really what’s at stake in Paris.
What I’ll do is I’ll engage them for about half an hour and then we’ll turn things over to you for a question and answer. And hopefully we’ll get as many questions in as possible, since this is an enormous agenda.
Climate change has often been called the most ambitious or complex collective action problem that humanity has ever faced, given the requirements at the local level to the international level and at all points in between, including cities, as we’ll be hearing from Mayor Bloomberg later.
So I’d like to begin by setting the stage a bit and really getting a sense of our expectations for Paris with a general question to all three of you, perhaps going in order at least to start with. And that question is why does Paris matter to climate change? There have been obviously 20 preceding conferences of parties, or COPs, pursuant to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. What’s been different going into this conference compared to others? And what’s at stake? And should we be optimistic about the outcomes? As Michael alluded to, there is a growing sense of optimism, and yet still some caution about whether or not what we’re—what countries are prepared to bring to the table will be enough to make a dent in this problem.
Teresa, let’s start with you.
RIBERA: OK, thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for inviting me to be with you this morning on this very nice discussion.
I would say—I would start by saying what it is not. Sometimes we tend to think that Paris means climate action. So it means that if Paris fails, there will be no climate action, which is not true. I think that climate action is happening already. It’s inevitable. It will happen in an increasingly pressing manner.
But the question is that it can happen in a chaotic way or it may be tackled in a manner that we could identify or call as more intelligent.
So what I would say is that Paris provides the opportunity to governments to say if they are willing to lead, manage the transition towards a low-carbon and resilient economy in a cooperative way. That would imply they are reducing the risk of instability, or human and security crisis, of industrial and economic classes, and it could provide some opportunities for effectiveness to lower cost of this transition and to identify some what we would call solidarity instruments in the international arena with those that are more vulnerable and that do need the support of international community in order to have a chance to survive.
So I think that that’s what it is at stake. For the time being, I guess that there are many people that still think that governments—either they don’t know what they want, either they don’t know how to achieve it, either they know what they want and they know how to achieve it, are incapable to do it. And what Paris has to demonstrate is that they can set a platform, to learn together how to deal with this transition, to identify what works in order to prove that, and to identify what doesn’t work in order to anticipate failure and to correct it in time through these type of partnerships, collective regional and local, based on whatever sectoral or regional approaches they want to take.
PATRICK: Thank you very much.
David, going into this, people—one of the big breakthroughs seems to have been the INDCs, the individual nationally determined contributions. Is that a major break from—I mean, you’ve been at this since the Kyoto days. Is this a major break? And is it something we should take seriously? You have countries coming to the table with their own sort of individual plans, but questions about monitoring or verification. Is the—what’s the sum like when you take all these parts and bring it together?
SANDALOW: It is a major break. And thank you, Stewart and Mike and Richard, for convening this session and for all the attention you pay to global warming here at the Center.
And I think the importance of the Paris conference is the attention that it is shining on the global warming issue. And this conference is being convened by the Framework Convention on Climate Change. And just to date myself, I actually go back even before the Kyoto meeting. I was White House staff member at the First Conference of Parties of the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1995, which was in Berlin, and, by the way, as a historical footnote, was run extremely skillfully by the German environment minister, a really capable woman named Angela Merkel—(laughter)—but went on to some good things in her career. But at that meeting the issue was below the radar screen. It didn’t get headline attention. There were certainly no heads of state attending.
Next week, I read in the paper yesterday, 138 heads of state are going to be in Paris; astonishing. Now, I recall the Copenhagen meeting was the largest meeting of heads of state ever outside of New York. And I think this is going to surpass that. So the Framework Convention on Climate Change is actually a—is not a strong institution. It does not have enforcement powers. It doesn’t have sanctioning powers. I think that the leadership of the convention and the French presidency have done a brilliant job of playing a weak hand well, using—and others have contributed to this, but I give them particular credit.
They’ve used this meeting to galvanize global attention. And one of the principal tools is what you asked about, Stewart, which is the INDCs. And these are—you know, for those who aren’t steeped in this, these intended nationally determined contributions are essentially national climate action plans. And now I believe over 150 countries, representing 95 percent of global emissions, have submitted these plans as part of their preparation process for the convention.
And, look, I mean, one of the lessons I took from my years working in the White House is that any head of state has an enormous number of issues that he or she must pay attention to. And it takes a device like a big global international conference often for heads of state to focus on global warming as a central and important issue. I think the leadership of the convention has done a brilliant job at that. And I think actually the attention goes beyond governments. It’s also the way that they’ve galvanized media attention and civil society as well.
PATRICK: Thank you very much.
Leena, in terms of judging success at Paris, and anything else you’d like to add as well from what’s already been said, but in terms of judging success at Paris, do you have a sense of what form the final agreement will take? There’s been a lot of debates over binding versus non-binding, how legal this sort of document is going to be. Or is it, in a way, a new approach to the way we’ve been thinking about climate change and the nature of an agreement that will not resemble Kyoto but resemble something else?
SRIVASTAVA: Yeah. Well, first of all, let me also thank the Council on Foreign Relations and all of you for inviting me to be here and to share some thoughts. I agree with the comments that have been made earlier.
But if I step back for a bit before we come to the success part of it, I think why Paris is important for us today is that, you know, we are trying to ensure that the sum total of all the INDCs that we are talking about actually add up to what it is that scientists believe is an important guard rail to keep under. And I think we have discussed two degrees Celsius for a long while. Of course, there’s enormous debate that is taking place on whether that is enough or not or whether we need to aim at 1.5 degrees Celsius or lower. And I think there is some discussion on that that is taking place, and there’s a lack of consensus.
But I think what we are looking for is that the sum total of our actions across the globe should help us to keep the temperature increases as well below the two degrees Celsius as possibly can. And I think it is the INDCs, to that extent, are extremely important, what we are going forward with.
And I share the optimism that Michael also spoke about, that, you know, we are moving forward and countries are coming with a positive attitude to Paris. But from all accounts, I think we will still be closer to a two-degree Celsius increase in temperatures.
So it’s something that we need to worry about. We really will have to see, when we talk about success in Paris, on how the dynamics work, on how is it that different countries, when they discuss and negotiate and come forward, can actually take on an ambition level which is higher than what they may have placed on the table thus far. Whether it is possible or not, I don’t know. But one can always hope that that is what will happen.
In terms of success, again, I agree that we are unlikely to see a legally binding document because I think there are still too many differences that exist between countries and their positions, and, you know, which countries take responsibility, which countries take the lead, which countries participate in what manner, given that countries like India, for example, are also at an aggregate level a large contributor to climate change.
So I think there are differences in terms of roles and responsibilities as viewed from different groups of countries, which we’re not resolving as yet. So even if you are able to say in Paris that let’s leave legally binding aside, however, let’s continue to cooperate on meeting the INDCs that we have set for ourselves, and find ways and means by which we make that feasible, that itself is a big challenge.
I think it would be a long way to go for the event, for Paris. It will not be a long way to go for the issue of climate change, because while we may be happy with what we have achieved and pat us on the back for what we have achieved, I think a lot of people around the world would suffer quite enormously.
PATRICK: Leena, if I can pick up on this and the nature of the agreement and how maybe the negotiating environment and context and ideas have changed over the past couple of decades. We’ve really seen in previous COPs a very strong insistence on common but differentiated responsibilities. It’s been at the core really of the Kyoto process.
With some move towards not necessarily legally binding but binding agreements and binding commitments on a number of developing countries that would have perhaps in the past been resistant to them, are—do you see that debate beginning to be overtaken by a move towards a de facto carbon emissions—per capita carbon emissions standard going forward? Some people have said, well, as some of the emerging-market economies start to move up and then OECD countries go down, do you think that—do you anticipate that that will end up being the way some of this debate and dialogue goes in future negotiating sessions?
SRIVASTAVA: Well, what you refer to in terms of per capita emissions, you know, coming together has been called the contraction and convergence debate or discussion. And that has been taking place for a long while as well. And essentially we said the same thing—that, you know, there has to be equal per capita emissions because that is fair and just for the world as a whole.
I don’t think that we have an agreement in those directions, so it’s unlikely that we will move towards an equal per capita emissions goal in a reasonable period of time. Common but differentiated responsibilities will possibly continue to have a key role to play. And I am not seeing a conflict between common but differentiated responsibilities and the contraction and convergence kinds of discussions that we have, because that’s what it is leading to. You look at starting points and you look at a goal and you look at the different pathways that different countries will need to follow to get to that particular point that we are looking at.
So common but differentiated responsibilities will remain. However, I think, as time has passed, because of the reductions in costs of various renewable-energy technologies, because of the fact that newer resources are today available to us, especially in the U.S. and in some other countries, I think our whole perception has changed and our, you know, ability—our feeling of the ability to be able to respond to the climate-change problem has also changed and has moved in the positive direction.
So therefore I think we will move forward. And some of these issues are probably just a wee bit weaker, but they haven’t disappeared.
PATRICK: Got you.
I’d like now to turn to Teresa perhaps. You took over your current position from France’s current climate-change envoy, who works very closely with the prime minister. I presume you keep in close touch. I won’t ask you to divulge any privileged information, but just I’m wondering whether or not you can share with us, as we approach these negotiations, what you see as areas—going into the conference, what pieces of the climate agreement have basically been settled and in a sense are locked and loaded?
What are we still looking at that’s in play or uncertain? And are there some lightning-rod issues that might emerge during the course of the two-week conversation? Obviously I’m sure the French, in choreographing this, have attempted to minimize any sort of sense of a Copenhagen-type scenario with sort of last-minute interventions into people’s meetings to try to—to try to salvage some agreement. But are there—are there particular issues that are quite well settled and others that are still in play?
RIBERA: Your question is so open that I will try to—
PATRICK: That’s right. (Laughter.) This is—you have free rein to take it in any direction you’d like. (Laughs.)
RIBERA: I’m going to make some comment on the previous comments—
PATRICK: Of course. Please.
RIBERA: —and then come to some answers or comments to your question.
PATRICK: OK, sure.
RIBERA: I do expect a legal agreement coming out of Paris. I think that there is broad consensus on key aspects that can be updated and being framed in a legal agreement on the principles, on how to work together, on procedural aspects, on the need to come back, review, make a general assessment on how things are going up on this thing that in Lima called non-backsliding principle, so always move forwards and do not come back on your previous engagements to a lower level of ambition.
These type of things can be settled and should be settled, because they could provide the basis for any sort of cooperation. Where it is still very sensitive is to what extent the commitment to commit. So the international commitment, say, I am going to commit at home goes further that and it gets some external capacity, the recognition of some external authority in order to look into the internal adoption of domestic policies. And that’s very sensitive in the States. That can be very sensitive in China. So this part of things are still open, but not for very large extent of things that could be part of a legal agreement.
I do think that national contributions do also have a very relevant value since every single government—and I would say that it’s not just that more than 130 heads of state and government are attending to Paris. It’s more than 160 countries responded to the U.N. call to say to what extent they wanted to contribute to this collective effort. And it is quite impressive because, in fact, we didn’t expect such a big response before the start of the COP. And it is—and it is there. And people is trying to understand—and this is a difficult exercise (as a commentator ?) to discover that Peter Pan does not exist and that you have to grow up, even if some should grow up before—
PATRICK: Some later than others.
RIBERA: —they do and things like that. But people—governments, countries, do understand, OK, this is not just the first time to find out who is guilty and who needs to do something. It’s also me facing my own future, my own responsibility towards my own society, and trying to combine this need to (de-carbonize?) my prosperity with my own domestic priorities, either if it is youth unemployment, the provide of good basis for new energy offer, or whatever. I mean, I think that’s the type of exercise that every single country has been trying to achieve.
I would say that for Paris there are still many sensitive things that are open. And I will try to go very quick on 10 big words or concepts that will be in the heart of the negotiations for the coming days.
First of all, this universal participation is not under any type of discussion; there is universal participation.
Second thing, this legally a product or legally binding thing, to what extent it is something that can be provided, (aware of ?) the limits of this bindingness.
The third thing would be a—the fact that we need to provide this notion of differentiation. So mainly, it’s a question of self-differentiation: X country has responded to what extent they want to contribute, so it’s self-differentiation. But still, there are some nation—what is the level of detail when reporting on whatever or what is the level of engagement we commit to whatever. So this notion of differentiation is still, even if recognized by everybody, very open to the details.
Then this thing of how to ensure that we are still in the corridor to achieve the 2 degrees goal. So that’s very key, to what extent we need to decline this concept in other ways, or to what extent we keep it as it stands.
And this thing of transparency and accountability, so people say, I commit to commit, and I will be accountable for what I’m going to—what I’m saying that I will do, even if I will do it at home. This capacity to come and review around cycles, so not to say, I say what I’m going to do whenever and I forget that deadline has arrived; no, I need to use this as a catalyzer to come back.
There will be an increasing—a movement to ensure instruments and tools around the adaptation needs. I think that up to now has been tackled in a very shy manner. And there are universal effects. Of course, effects are local, but there are universal and transboundary consequence of this impact, and this needs to be into consideration in the negotiations.
Something which is even more delicate, more sensitive is—what—it is called loss and damage. So no matter to what extent we release emissions, no matter to what extent we are able to adapt to the impact of climate change, we know that there will be impacts that will be very difficult to avoid. So what is the response of the international community to this circumstance? I don’t remember how many I got, but I got—
PATRICK: That’s at least eight.
RIBERA: Eight. So I could have—
PATRICK: That’s very impressive.
RIBERA: The importance of other players—I mean, non-state actors being part of this—of this process, I think that that’s very key. And I don’t remember what is the tenth, but, I mean, those are still on the table and will guide us on—in order to understand how things are tackled among negotiators.
PATRICK: That’s terrific.
David, I’m going to give you a chance to also—if there—if you think other things are on the table that you think might deserve to join this rather long and daunting list but important for us to bear in mind—one of the—the question I really wanted to direct at you was, at these negotiations, frequently the outcome will be very much determined by what some of the biggest players are doing. And as you see the diplomatic lay of the land going in, particularly amongst some of the largest-emitting countries or groups, including the United States, China, the European Union, what are some of the developments that you’ve seen that are—have been hopeful going into this, and—or still conceivably problematic? And I note—I noted that you earned a lot of frequent flyer miles over the years going between Washington and Beijing—and many other points as well—but if you had some thoughts about Chinese leadership and what you’ve seen in the evolution of Chinese leadership going into Paris, I think that would be fascinating for people to hear.
SANDALOW: That’s great. I’ll get to China. Let me first just say, Teresa, that was a tremendous list, really, really good. And let me just pick up on two points and then get to China.
First, to talk about the legally binding nature of this agreement: This is a complicated issue, but I think the outcome is relatively straightforward. I think at the end of the Paris conference, there will be an agreement that is legally binding in some respects and not legally binding in other respects—or there will be no agreement, and I certainly hope and expect that there will be an agreement, but if there is one, it’s going to be legally binding in some respects and not legally binding in other respects.
It won’t be legally binding with respect to the emissions reduction commitments that countries are making. And the reason it won’t be is because there is significant opposition to that from some major developing countries as well as the United States of America.
And the situation in the United States of America is most clear. The Senate of the United States ratified the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 but unanimous vote. That provides for certain procedural requirements; it imposes certain procedural requirements on the United States. And procedural requirements that are consistent with that can be adopted by the United States without returning to the Senate for ratification for advice and consent to this treaty.
Additional commitments, such as a legally binding commitment to impose—to reduce emissions by a certain amount would require advice and consent to the U.S. Senate. If there is anybody here who thinks that that might happen—(laughter)—I would offer 10-to-1 odds, and I mean that, a hundred—please come up to me afterwards on any amount you would like.
And by the way, I think it’s worth noting that this is not just because of the debate over climate change in the United States—although that’s an important factor—but it’s—also, it’s a combination of the fact that our Constitution, which—venerable document that’s guided us for a couple of centuries, imposes a 67-vote requirement for ratification of a treaty.
And the—wholly independent from climate change, there is a deep resistance to multilateralism in the United States. And this was most vivid a couple of years ago when the U.S. Senate rejected a treaty on disability rights, which was much, much less controversial in its substance that the climate change treaty, and for which the former nominee from the Republican Party, Bob Dole, controlling the Senate was on the floor—who was himself disabled—was on the floor advocating for the Senate’s advice and consent to this treaty. You couldn’t imagine anything more kind of gripping. And the Senate still rejected this treaty.
So the Senate is never going to provide advice and consent to the type of climate change treaty we’re talking about. And I think without the world’s second-largest emitter agreeing to it and without some other large developing countries agreeing to it, we’re not going to have legally binding targets with respect to emissions reduction commitments.
We could get a panel of lawyers to have a very interesting discussion about what that actually means. Let me just say that, you know, internationally, legally binding in this context is much less significant than something that’s domestically legally binding. In the last round of negotiations in Kyoto, there were legally binding commitments. At least one country, Canada, took those legally binding commitments, but when it changed its mind, it just left the treaty, or left that party of the treaty. And so it’s not clear exactly how significant a legally binding nature of the commitment would be. That is legally binding.
Let me—let me just raise another issue because both Leena and Teresa have talked about the 2 degrees centigrade goal here, which is a really important goal. But let me just—out of curiosity, how many people in this audience are—grew up in the United States? OK, so almost everybody raised their hand. Americans think in degrees Fahrenheit, OK? We don’t think in degrees centigrade.
Now, let me ask a follow-up question: How many people here are pretty confident that you can convert from degrees centigrade to degrees Fahrenheit? OK, for the record, let me note: We’re here at the Council on Foreign Relations, a highly elite institution of leading thinkers. (Laughter.) Roughly half the crowd raised their hand, OK? The answer is, a degree centigrade is roughly twice a degree Fahrenheit—nine-fifths, to be exact, OK? So when we’re talking 2 degrees centigrade, we’re talking 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
And I had—I had a—this became particularly vivid for me about six months ago when I talked to a senior member of the U.S. government, who was not really responsible for climate change issues but it’s kind of at the margins of her responsibilities, who was unaware that the 2 degrees C goal was a 2 degrees C goal and not a 3 degree—3.6 degree F goal, or—and—or misunderstood that—the units. And I think in particular, in press accounts, where we—where we see, this is really scary, the world’s temperature might rise on average by 2 degrees, in the United States, I think—it’d be interesting to see polling data; I would be surprised to find that most Americans actually understood what was being said there. So I would ask everybody, when you talk to your American friends, take the—take the Fahrenheit pledge, OK? (Laughter.) And speak in degrees Fahrenheit. And I—particularly important for reporters that are covering this, by the way.
All right. Having said that, let me answer your question. (Laughter.) And your question was mainly about China—let me—
SANDALOW: Mainly about China, so let me just talk about China because it—you know, China is overwhelmingly the world’s largest emitter of heat-trapping gases. Last year Chinese emissions were roughly equal to the emissions from the United States and the European Union combined. So there is no solution to this problem that doesn’t centrally address Chinese emissions.
Chinese officials and others accurately point out that this is not an issue that is driven as much by year-to-year emissions as by the stock of emissions, and these gases remain in the atmosphere for a hundred years, so—the leading ones do—leading one does. But—and cumulative emissions from the United States are still significantly above cumulative emissions from China. But if China keeps emitting at its current rate, that’s not going to last forever, and cumulative emissions from China will overtake those from the United States and other leading countries in a couple of decades. There is different projections on this. So China is hugely important.
I think in the past year or so, we have seen a new dawn on Chinese climate policy. There are also some dark clouds. And let me just talk about both of those.
Just in the past year, we’ve seen really tremendous announcements from the Chinese leadership about their intention to take on climate change policy. The headline announcement was, a year ago, in the summit with President Obama where President Xi Jinping said that Chinese emissions would peak in 2030, this was the first time that China had ever taken a commitment to limit absolute emissions of greenhouse gases.
That’s been followed up, as Mike Levi referred to in his introduction, with additional announcements. At the summit—at the summit this year between President Obama and Xi Jinping, President Xi Jinping announced that he was going to have a national emissions trading program in China by 2017. By the way, this was deeply ironic. The emissions trading is an American idea. It’s now being implemented in Europe and China, mainly, and not in—not out of Washington. The—California and the Northeast states are doing some emissions trading for carbon dioxide, but we don’t have a federal program. But—so the Chinese have announced that.
And then there is a very big and sophisticated architecture of climate and clean energy policies in China today. There is—China is the largest deployer of solar energy in the world with some very aggressive renewable energy targets. Half the nuclear plants in the world today under construction are being built in China. And so there is a lot that’s happening in China right now to take on the global warming issue.
And when you have—in conversations with Chinese leaders and others on this, there is no strain of climate denial in the—in the Chinese leadership. This is an issue that they believe is real, and it aligns very closely with their highly important goals to reduce local air pollution in the country. And the local air pollution crisis is huge. Most things you can do to reduce local air pollution also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are some areas where there is a tension, but most things you can do actually work very well together.
Just to wrap up, there are a couple of dark clouds that I think are worth paying attention to. One of them is this announcement—revision about a month or two ago that the Chinese coal data had been significantly misstated. And it’s quite remarkable, the size of the—of the—of that. It’s, you know, hundreds of millions of tons of coal. And in one sense this is encouraging: The Chinese statistical system is slowly, you know, becoming better. And the—and this was government data, and the government announced that they were revising the coal consumption data upwards and did so without fanfare. But it’s extremely concerning in that regard.
And the other I think dark cloud I’m concerned about is the continued construction of coal plants in China, that even as Chinese coal consumption goes down, new coal plants are being built. And that’s going to cause a variety of problems going forward.
PATRICK: Thank you very much, David.
I’d like to turn to Leena next to discuss, at least as a point of departure, India’s own views and evolving position on this.
India’s often been considered, fairly or unfairly, a climate outlier in some—in some sense amongst some of the major emerging economies and major emitters. But more recently, last month the Modi government released its INDC, which has some aggressive elements to it, including historic shifts, the first time that India had apparently agreed to its openness to a legally binding agreement with respect to climate change emissions targets.
At the same time, pessimists note that if it continues on its current course, in part because of its current low level of development that it’s—and perhaps, if it continues its breakneck economic pace as well, that it’s on track to conceivably be the biggest emitter by 2050, and the emissions themselves will double by 2030. Another hand, it is—it does seem to suggest a shift in India’s attitude that maybe has been taking place over the last—over the last decade but really has come to fruition recently.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist when you look at India’s current trajectory and the Modi commitment?
SRIVASTAVA: I’m generally a cautious optimist. (Chuckles.) So I can’t say, you know, clearly optimist or a pessimist.
But before I come to India, interesting point that was raised by David related to the whole issue of carbon budgets. So one is the cumulative emissions that have taken place by different countries over a period of time. But the more important question now for us—and I think one of the issues that India also raises very often is, what happens about the remaining carbon budget? And the remaining carbon budget that we have is very small. And how does this get divided up? And how does the past and the cumulative emissions that have taken place actually translate into the available space that countries have for developing further, or for continuing development, and of course, the emissions of greenhouse gases that each country would get? So that’s where the whole issue of equity and justice actually also comes into play. And it’s one of the confounding issues that I think we have to be able to deal with. So maybe it was your tenth, but maybe note. So—and technology may have been another one, but, you know—
So I think there are a number of these issues that still remain to resolved, and then that’s why I think when David says that we may get a legally binding commitment for certain aspects and not for others—and I agree with that. The question is, does it, again, get us where we want to be? And that is the million-dollar question that I think all of us are facing.
As far as India is concerned, you know, the—this impression of being an outlier is I guess as much of a perception as a reality, because, you know, when you talk about being an outlier, especially in the context of climate change, it could be in terms of what you’re discussing or what you’re doing. And I definitely feel that in the case of India, if you look at some of the domestic targets over a period of time, I think it’s been fairly ambitious in wanting to improve efficiencies and wanting to move in the area of renewable energy. But of course, the issue of capacities, capabilities and everything else does come into play here.
I am optimistic—well, India agreeing to legally binding, it would not be without conditions, in a sense. And I think India has definitely said that while it has a very ambitious INDC target for renewable energy—not so ambitious from an emissions intensity point of view—its ability to be able to meet its renewable energy targets is dependent on finances and the financial flows. I’m not saying aid; I’m talking about availability of finances and financial flows to be able to allow India to move on that particular trajectory. And it’s not a mean goal that India has set for itself. We have said, 40 percent non-fossil capacity in fourth-power generation by the year 2030. And if you look at the constraints that we have on hydropower development, on nuclear development, et cetera, and if you look at the fact that we are looking at 800 gigawatts of capacity by the year 2030, roughly, plus or minus a few, we’re talking about upwards of 300 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity. That is huge. I mean, by any account, I think that is huge. So that’s a very ambitious target. So India will be able—will not be able to take on a legally binding commitment unless it comes as part of a package deal.
PATRICK: Yeah, in that—that’s very interesting—in that sense, one of the things that Paris is meant to be helping to ramp up is the Green Climate Fund, which was agreed to I believe in Copenhagen that there would be up to a hundred billion dollars a year in green climate financing by 2020. Obviously, that appears to have been lagging quite a bit behind that target or in terms of ramping up.
When you discuss India’s need for external investment, are you mostly thinking about it in terms of something like the Green Climate Fund or more in terms of private sector involvement, including through technology transfer to India?
SRIVASTAVA: Yeah. I think it’ll have to be a combination of the two. We definitely need investments from the private sector. And there is a sizable market in India that will be able to bear the cost of private-sector investments and be able to make that attractive in terms of returns.
But we also have—and we have to remember this—that 70 percent of India’s population is well below the poverty line as is defined. And we therefore have this constant struggle of being able to provide low-cost energy to this group of people and not keep them continually out of energy access, you know, agenda. And this is one of the things that will be coming up hopefully—I mean, it’s not currently as strongly on the radar screen. But we have the sustainable development goals. Sustainable goal number seven talks about sustainable energy for all. And then you have the climate change goal number 13. But, you know, we are not looking at the two in an integrated manner. And I don’t think we are—we’re only worried about the people who have access to energy and who are consuming. We are not looking at the people who do not have access to energy. And I think we need to recall that 25 percent of the global population that does not have access to energy, whether it is lighting or cooking, live in India. It’s huge, you know. So the challenges are enormous, and we need to be able to recognize that.
PATRICK: Yes. No, I think that what you’re pointing out is the sensitivity to balancing, obviously, the—a number of—a couple of different imperatives in terms of social development and other forms of development on the one hand, and obviously, meeting sustainable greenhouse gas targets. And that’s not going to go away anytime soon in Paris.
I would—I think would—I would like to turn things over to the audience. Now, did you have a quick question—a quick comment?
RIBERA: Yes, Stewart. It was finance, not this thing, that I forgot. But I think that it is also important to remind that even if this question of the carbon budget is a way to express what to do in the future in order to match our current efforts into the long-term goal, we have learned from Kyoto times that this zero-sum game was not the most positive way to promote what we could call “positive envy,” the pride of doing more, because it’s, like, who is going to do more than me, what does this mean for me? So I guess that we could work on this trajectory towards the long-term goal with some combination of this per capita emissions more than trying to make a perfect division of the free space, available space. And it is very much embed in the existing context of the negotiations.
PATRICK: Thank you, Teresa.
At this point I would like to open the floor to the members of the audience. As a reminder, this meeting is on the record. Please wait for the microphone and speak directly into it. If you would stand, state your name and affiliation, that would be great. And please limit yourself to a question.
This gentleman right here. No, I’m sorry, in the—in the fifth or sixth row.
Q: Hi. Jay Koh from Siguler Guff. Thanks for your comments on the panel.
I had a question specifically just following up on—and I’m glad that it was mentioned—the adaptation piece of the puzzle here because there has been an enormous amount of focus on mitigation, but less than 10 to 20 percent of total global finance in climate has anything to do with adaptation, and almost none of it has anything to do with the private sector. So it’s heartening to hear that there is an interest in trying to catalyze something in this respect. And I do a little bit of advisory work to the Green Climate Fund on the Private Sector Advisory Group, but I’m just curious to hear what you think is actually the prospect for meaningful activity or catalytic action in Paris around adaptation resilience itself. Thank you.
PATRICK: Would anybody like to take that on?
RIBERA: I’m happy to get it.
I think that this is probably the highest political thing is still pretty unclear. And I guess that there are different levels of difficulty. The political level—there I guess that people have started to understand that it is not true that emissions were a global problem and adaptation was a local problem to be solved with some money and that’s all. There are global conflicts that can come up because of the local impacts of climate change, and there is a need to professionalize how we deal with adaptation, how to identify the priorities in order to invest our efforts first to cover the most relevant impacts in each country or how we can combine the international or the regional capacities in order to respond.
There are then some difficulties of the technical aspect, as I say. Now there are—there is this need to professionalize, to prioritize, to understand the trends and to give the right signals that could allow countries to host those investments in a much more efficient manner to provide sustainable development, including the right assessment of possible climate impacts.
For the time being, it’s a little bit a desire to reflect the political relevance of adaptation in a much more relevant place, many comments or many declarations on the—on the importance of using public money in order to give this solidarity profile to the investment on adaptation, and some general demands in order to strengthen the adaptation pillar in the 100 billion discussion. But I would say still ongoing.
PATRICK: Leena, you said you—
SRIVASTAVA: Very quickly, short comment in the interest of time, but I think, you know, go back to the point that we need to look at it as a total package deal. The more you ignore mitigation, the higher your adaptation costs are going to go up. And, you know, I don’t think we are taking, again, a holistic view, and we have a segmentation that has come up in the discussions on negotiations that needs to be overcome.
PATRICK: The gentleman on the—on the aisle right here. Yes. Sorry. Sorry.
Q: My name is Charles Frank with the Brookings Institution.
Last year an expert group issued a report published by the Indian Planning Commission on inclusive low-carbon growth. And the proposal in the expert group report was much more ambitious than the INDC that India has issued today. For example, the expert group proposes that the capacity of renewables be 52 percent, not 40 percent, as in the INDC. If you project the INDC emissions intensity to 2030, assuming certain rates of growth, it results in 5.6 gigatons of emissions, whereas the expert group report has only 3.8 gigatons in its proposal, mainly through additional renewables and using supercritical coal plants, more efficient coal plants. Why is there this difference? Why—has the Indian government left something on the table here? Are they lowballing us? What can be done to improve the commitment that India is going to make?
SRIVASTAVA: Yeah. Well, these are all modeling results, and, you know, it depends on the scenarios that you define, I guess, at a given point in time, and that always evolves.
So we as TERI were part of that particular modeling group, but we also do our own exercises independently of the government. And to me, when I look at the INDCs that India came out with, I was surprised at the ambition level for renewable energy because we thought that in this time period, which remains between now and 2030, we would be well-served if we are able to achieve about 200 to 220 gigawatts of renewable energy, and we are aiming for 330. So in my view, we have been much, much more ambitious on the renewable energy front.
Then on energy intensity, energy intensity I agree: The goal that India has as part of its INDC is possibly modest. And it is achievable, you know, from that point of view. Renewable energy is something that we may wish to have. I’m not sure if we will be able to achieve that.
So—but the important point is that if you look at even the 320, or even look at the lower amount that I’m talking about that were TERI’s projection, India’s per capita emissions in the year 2030 fall in the range of 2.3 to 3.6 or 3.7 tons of CO2 per capita. It is still very, very low as compared to what several other countries who are talking about peaking emissions are talking about, which is in the range of 10 to 12 tons per capita.
So I think these are important statistics that we need to keep in mind to look at, you know, what the total picture looks like. So India, yes, may be one of the largest emitters in the years to come, but on a per capita basis—and you cannot ignore the per capita because these developmental aspirations are there. And I gave some statistics earlier which I will not repeat on energy axis issues. So we really have to be able to find this balance and see how is it that we are able to achieve the low-carbon development. Whether we have a 6 percent rate economic growth assumption or whether we have an 8 percent rate of economic growth assumption, I think the numbers would vary. So I would not focus that much on the numbers per se, but the ambition is there.
PATRICK: Leena, can I pick up on just one aspect of this? In the Indian INDC, in the commentary surrounding it, there was a lot of emphasis on technology transfer. But there was one element of that technology transfer that my colleague Varun Sivaram has noted that is potentially problematic for getting—and would—might discourage foreign enterprise investment that could help in this regard in India, and that is a demand or an insistence on relaxation of intellectual property rights with respect to—it’s not simply technology transfer, in a sense, but relaxation of IP rights. And I just wonder if you have any view as to whether or not there might be a way to relax that so that you get—you hit a sweet spot where you’re actually getting a lot of foreign companies conceivably generating employment in India et cetera and helping development as well as dealing with the clean energy picture?
SRIVASTAVA: Very complex problem, which we haven’t been able to sort for the last couple of decades. But I think these are the mechanisms that we generally have to be able to work out. I mentioned earlier the need for India to get private investments and yet keep costs low. And that is one of the drivers, you know, for asking for these kinds of concessions. And we really have to be able to see how public-private partnerships can be developed so that it is the governments in the countries where the intellectual property is emanating that are able to write down possibly the costs of these intellectual properties that you are not outpricing technology and services as compared to what people are willing to pay. So yes, if you give it enough time, 20, 30, 40 years, things will change, ability to pay will improve and so on. But I think our most critical problem is we don’t have that time. The IPCC has given a fairly short window of opportunity. And if you want to be able to accelerate things in that window of opportunity, even if you don’t reach your hundred percent of what we might wish, we really have to see how to define those mechanisms.
PATRICK: Thank you. Let’s go see this gentleman here on the—on the aisle.
Q: Thank you very much. Stephen Heintz with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Given that the INDCs, the national pledges, are almost certainly not likely to be part of a legally binding agreement coming out of Paris, it seems to me this raises the question about transparency and accountability in a very sharp way. And here I think the role nongovernmental actors is very, very important. And yet at the same time, we see around the world kind of a closing space for civil society, a clampdown on NGOs, that may make this work more difficult. So I wonder if any members of the panel have a comment about this problem.
SRIVASTAVA: I have a comment. I think you are perfectly right. I think there are a couple of additional comments to your own comment. First of all is that INDCs do not seem to be enough, but they are not to be taken for granted. I mean, it is very important that, since the very first day, there is a capacity to accompany and facilitate and ensure that the sooner, the best the INDCs are put in place, and that on that we could build the second bridge in a scenario in order to match, to reach our long-term goal.
I think that to a certain extent, the fact that some of the tools, some of the principles, some of the procedures could be part of this legally—result, this legal agreement is a way to empower also citizens and civil society to ask for clarity and for explanations on how things are going on. And think that this is very important to make full use of that—of that opportunity because as I say, what it is at the stake is the credibility, the confidence on our common willingness to go on this—on this pathway.
And I think that there are still some question marks. For instance, to what extent the INDCs and whatever action can be assessed by external institutions? I am pretty convinced that even if Paris doesn’t say anything, they are going to be assessed. I mean, we are all under scrutiny every single day. So I think that the most important thing could be to identify what are the key messages in order to avoid translation losses on what they really mean, to what extent they are transformational or they just place more things in the margins, to what extent they are coherent with the whole, I don’t know, economic or energy or investment plans. And I guess that this will be taking place, but of course there is room for improvement in order to stress the key messages and the key recommendations from the civil society on what it is going on.
PATRICK: David, do you have comments on this question of monitoring verification, accountability—
SANDALOW: Yeah. No, I think Stephen is exactly right. The INDCs are important, but they’re not going to be enough to—they’re not going to be enough to avoid a 3.6 degree F rise in global temperatures, which is what scientists tell us we must do to avoid catastrophe. And we are going to require a vibrant NGO sector around the world in order to continue to strengthen the INDCs over time.
We’re going to need one—something else which hasn’t yet been mentioned, so I think it’s worth bringing up, which is increasing investment in clean energy innovation, that we—right now we have technologies that are coming down in costs that are sufficient to get us a long ways towards our goal. But we underinvest dramatically in innovation and clean energy. That’s partly because the social benefits are, you know, not captured by the private sector, and government budgets have been insufficient. And I hope that one thing we’ll see in Paris is commitments to increase this investment in clean energy and innovation. I particularly look at carbon capture and marketable uses for carbon energy storage, advanced nuclear technologies. All these areas are places we need real increases in budgets if we’re going to meet our goals.
PATRICK: Leena, did you have something to add on this topic?
SRIVASTAVA: Yes, I wanted to come back to the point on, you know, the clampdown, in a sense, on the nongovernmental sector. And I don’t have a brief for the Indian government. I come from a nongovernmental organization myself. But if I put myself in the shoes of the government and I look at what it is that they’re dealing with, you know—so you want to set up a nuclear power plant and there is obviously resistance to it, and there is a huge movement against it. Hydropower plants, they suffer from the same consequences, and there is a lot of civil society agitation against it. And yet we want to be more environmentally friendly—and we can definitely debate whether nuclear is environmentally friendly or not, hydro is environmentally friendly or not, et cetera—but, you know, so somewhere I think the government gets the sense of being left with a Hobson’s choice as far as being able to look at alternates is concerned. And that’s where the pushback possibly comes from on some of these issues.
Having said that, two other things I wanted to mention, one, of course, is that the nongovernmental sector itself needs its capacity built to be able to look at things in a much more systemic manner than—rather than pick up a single agenda point and then push that irrespective of the overall development context in which a particular country is operating. And second, of course, has to do with funding of the nongovernmental sector. I mean, that, again, is something that is being depleted. And you see the sector then often responding to what might be an agenda-driven funding source rather than, you know, something that would allow the sector to look at things in a very dispassionate manner. So I think it’s a combination of issues that are coming together and resulting in this kind of pushback against the nongovernmental sector.
PATRICK: I’m going to start with the silver-haired gentleman—distinguished silver-haired gentleman right there—(laughter)—and then the gentleman in front of him afterwards.
Q: Thank you. That probably makes my day. Stephen Kass, Brooklyn Law School.
I have great respect for the panelists and the moderator and our convener. But for me there is a Panglossian quality here that I think ignores the fact that while innovation has improved and we have more technology, in fact, for 23 years, since Rio, we have done almost nothing other than in Europe. And the situation now is more dire in terms of predictions than it was at Copenhagen. The predictions really seem to be that given the current level of pledges, if they—if they are honored, which is a big if, we’re talking about something like 2.5 to 3.5 C increase, which is 5 to 6 and a half degrees F. That’s colossal. So the gentleman’s question here about adaptation seems to me critical. And I was disappointed to hear that it’s—it didn’t make the list of the first eight or nine items and that it is still controversial. And it would be my hope, at least, that there would be a far greater effort to deal with adaptation commitments—Leena has mentioned some of the problems with it—and above all, assured financing, since adaptation takes a very long time and will be necessary regardless of what is done or is not done by way of mitigation commitments.
PATRICK: Very interesting question. A number of scientists have—would appear also to already have in a sense thrown in the towel on the 2 percent—the 3.6 percent Fahrenheit target. And so I think that—and clearly, I know—I’ve been working a little bit with folks who look at the world’s oceans and the catastrophic implications that are occurring, both in terms of acidification and warming and the fact that we’ve been depending on the oceans to be, in a sense, our sync for both heating Earth and also for carbon, and their ability to survive and perform that cushioning function for us is dwindling rapidly. Do you have any reflections on this?
RIBERA: So on of them on the—on the—on how we read this lack of match to the 3.6 Fahrenheit degrees goal in the pledgers, I think it’s true. I think that there may be some underestimates on the effects of putting in place every single measure because people tend to be prudent, and they don’t know if they would be able to do everything or not. But I think that we can also consider that if things start to happen, the evolution will not be linear. The next step could be much—I mean, the evolution of the investment and the transformation of our current economic, financial and energy patterns may happen faster if we really manage to get the first big if, so things happening as soon—as soon as possible. It’s not that we can answer everything, but I think that that’s something we should be pushing in order to make our lives easier in the—in the next round. That should be sooner than 2020. I think that we cannot say. And then this is for 2020—(inaudible)—and we won’t meet till that moment, sorry. Leaders cannot come to Paris to say we are happy you work this final draft, and we will meet again in five years’ time. I think that they should be meeting and taking this into consideration sooner than that. That’s the first comment.
On the adaptation piece, I think that it’s really crucial—as I said, what I miss is a lack of professionalism in tackling this in a much more generalized manner, but action has started to take place. I guess that the role of the insurance and reinsurance sector will be key. And this is why there should be some manners to help to capacitate the most vulnerable countries in order to be able to identify their own priorities, to assess what they need to do first.
And I guess that in terms of the negotiation, the biggest difficulty has been what is an adaptation commitment, or what is an adaptation commitment? Everybody should be committed to build resilience and to adapt to a 2 degrees warmer world. But at the same time, there could be some voice to build capacities and to report on these capacities being built so that that could provide some indicators that could be understood by any private investor. So this country provides a good assessment on what are the risk and how they intend to handle this risk, so it’s more secure to invest in this country than investing in their neighbors because they don’t really know what type of risk they will be facing. But this is—this is ongoing. People—countries—developing countries feel like this is an additional burden. Once they start to realize that this is something they should be investing in too, they ask for some time in order to put this in place, and of course for the piece of international finance in order to have this in place.
SANDALOW: You’re exactly right, sir, to note that even if the INDCs are fully implemented, according to the analysis, the global average temperatures will increase about 5 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit. And, you know, Al Gore says in “An Inconvenient Truth” that 9 degree—that the difference between today and the peak of the last ice age was 9 degrees Fahrenheit. And at the peak of the last ice age, there was a mile of ice over Manhattan Island, right? So we’re talking about a change in temperature that is, you know, half or more of that within a century. And it’s terrifying. And I believe on this issue, if you are not terrified, you’re not paying attention. So I think you’re right.
But I do not accept a kind of—if there was note of pessimism in your question, I don’t accept it, and partly because I think pessimism is paralyzing, and I think that this is a problem that we can, as a world, solve, that there are signs that we can do it, including with the remarkable drop in the price of solar power over the course of the past five or six years, the fact that 138 world leaders are going to show up in Paris. I think we have a combination of technological progress and political will that at least gives us the possibility of addressing this problem.
PATRICK: Great. I’ve got one more. Can I—Leena—
SRIVASTAVA: Yeah, sure.
PATRICK: Yeah. Just this last gentleman here. And I apologize, I did not see any women raise their hands. I—this was not an effort to be gender-imbalanced. Sir.
Q: Bruce Knotts, director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office.
I had several long discussions with Jim Sensenbrenner, who bragged to me several times how he got the U.S. out of the Kyoto Protocol. And his main argument for that was that it was unfair to the United States, it gave too much to the Europeans and was unfair to the United States. Now we hear the Indians saying that a per capita reduction in carbon emissions would be unfair to India and also unfair to China. My fear is this constant harping on what’s fair is going to prevent a global agreement.
And let me take one last thing: When I lived in India and worked there, one of our secretaries at the U.S. diplomatic mission went to the doctor, and the doctor said, how long have you been smoking? And she said, I don’t smoke at all. And he said, what’s all that stuff in your lungs? And she said, that’s India in my lungs. And, you know, if you’re talking about a fairness to poor people in India, that they need electric lights, they also need a healthful environment. And I would argue that living in downtown New Delhi is not healthful any more than it is in Beijing or many other cities even here in the United States. And so what should be fair to the entire planet is to have a real agreement that reduces these emissions and gives us all a future.
PATRICK: Thank you. With—Leena, did you want to respond to that, or—
SRIVASTAVA: No. Won’t disagree with what you said. But then the whole issue is, how? So that’s where we get stuck. And that’s why, I guess, India is a developing country and not a developed country, because if you have done everything that needed to be done, even before we discovered the climate change problem and started talking about it 20 years ago, we wouldn’t be where we are. So I think that is a reality that we keep saying needs to be understood and accepted.
I did want to come back on an earlier point about insurance. You know, just—not that I disagreed, once again, but to bring out the changes in context, you know, so as an adaptation means, if you look at it today—maybe 10 years later it will be different, depending on how we progress—but we have an abysmally low coverage of India’s population by insurance. We have nothing called crop insurance, you know, for example. So when we’re looking at adaptation and adaptation strategies, what some of you might take for granted in your countries may not even be an option to talk about in even a country like India, at least not for the foreseeable future. So the real—I just wanted to highlight, you know, the—how—what might seem obvious like what you also mentioned as a solution doesn’t turn to be that obvious a solution.
We have been struggling for decades over doing away with biomass energy for simple thing like cooking energy solutions, and it has not been possible. Program after program of the government of India has failed to deliver clean cooking energy solutions. It’s important from a health perspective. It is also important because of the short-lived carbon pollutants and the opportunity that that creates.
But there are systemic problems, which, again, have to be looked at in totality, and we are not able to provide that solution, you know, over there. We are investing—when we talk about private sector solutions, we are investing a huge amount in growth of the automobile sector, one of the major polluters in urban India. There are not the same amount of investments that are coming in, that will probably have to be a lot more from the public sector, into mass transport systems or transit systems that we can put in place. Can we ask the U.S., Germany, other countries, Japan, which are large manufacturers and have large industry that is dealing with automobile sector, to change the direction of their investments? It doesn’t normally work in that manner. So question is also the receiving capacity that exists in countries and ability to deal with it. So many things that come in.
We need to keep it short. Yeah.
PATRICK: No, I just want to say we’re at the close of the session now. We’re going to be headed to a coffee break on the first floor here in Pratt House. And we’re going to begin the next session promptly at 11:00 a.m. here in Peterson Hall. Please join me in thanking this wonderful panel. (Applause.)
This is an uncorrected transcript.