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Irreversible, catastrophic climate change represents the greatest threat to human kind's survival today. Relentlessly rising greenhouse gas emissions are heating up the atmosphere. Planet Earth is hurtling towards disaster, with rapidly melting ice-caps and glaciers, rising sea levels, rainfall pattern changes, and a breakdown of fragile climate balances.
The earth can cope with maximum global warming of 1.5-2 degree C. But temperatures are set to rise way beyond this-unless greenhouse emissions are drastically reduced by 2020.Yet1 the world has failed to reach agreement on this. Industrialised countries, which are primarily responsible for climate change, balk at cutting their emissions. They continue to occupy climate space at the expense of the developing countries' climate-vulnerable poor people. Equally unfairly, their emissions-reduction pledges are lower than the poor countries’.
The climate crisis thus aggravates the global developmental crisis. It is also intimately linked through the prevalent iniquitous development model to grave economic, social and political crises in evidence globally.
This unique book has a dual focus: impacts of climate change, and the politics of the international climate negotiations; and second, lndia as an example of an 'emerging economy' major polluter, which can potentially both aid or obstruct the fight against climate change. It analyses the role of the new BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) grouping and the short-term calculations of other major players in the climate talks.
Yet, there are alternatives to this dismal situation, based on equity, resource conservation, curbs on luxury consumption, promotion of renewable energy and new patterns of production and consumption which sustain low-carbon development. What the global effort lacks is candid acknowledgement of the need for a qualitative change in the growth model and the will to bring it about through democratic popular participation.
Written lucidly, The Politics of Climate Change and the Global Crisis: Mortgaging Our Future is mandatory reading for social scientists, environmentalists, civil servants, social activists and environmentally conscious citizens.
Praful Bidwai is a political columnist, a social science researcher, and an activist on issues of human rights, environment, global justice and peace. He currently holds the Durgabai Deshmukh Chair in Social Development, Equity and Human Security as a Visiting Professor at the Council for Social Development, Delhi. Bidwai is a Fellow of the Transnational Institute, Amsterdam.
List of tables, figures and boxes
At the Edge of the Climate Precipice
1. The Doomsday Clock
Climate Change and the Global Developmental Crisis
2. Himalayan Trouble
Why Climate Change Matters to India and Why India Matters in Fighting It
3. Through Twists and Turns
The Evolution of India’s Climate Policy and Negotiations Stand
4. Rooted in Incoherence
Anomalies and Contradictions in India’s Climate Policy
5. Too Little, Too Late
A Critique of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change and Its ‘Low-Carbon’ Growth Strategies
6. Domestic Imperatives
A Practical Agenda for Low-Carbon Development in India
7. No Heroes, Only Villains … and Too Many Victims
8. Alternative Visions
What Would an Equitable Global Climate Deal Look Like?
9. False Promise
The Bleak Future of Nuclear Power after Fukushima
Chasing the Nuclear Mirage
11. The Renewables Revolution is Here!
12. Can the Climate Impasse Be Broken?