Adani, India and COP26: How to support climate justice?
The Adani Group is the largest private producer of coal and thermal energy in India. He was responsible for environmental destruction, land grabbing and violation of indigenous rights. It is a multinational conglomerate with coal mines in Indonesia and the controversial Carmichael Coal Mine in central Queensland, Australia, where traditional owners Wangan and Jagalingou were staging a three-month cultural event as the first coal is pulled from the pit of the mine.
But Adani is also the the biggest owner and entrepreneur of solar farms. It has one of the the biggest solar parks in the state of Tamil Nadu, in southern India. He is gear become the largest renewable energy company in the world by 2030 and has plans make its businesses carbon negative.
Climate activists are concerning at the museum’s choice of a fossil fuel company. The concern of the traditional owner of Wangan and Jagalingou, Adrian Burragubba, is somewhat different – for him, this endorsement demonstrates the museum’s complicity in Adani’s violation of indigenous human rights and the destruction of traditional lands. But even as these objections emerged, Group CEO Gautam Adani met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and promised $ 70 billion for renewable energies.
Push and pull
Climate advocates slam Adani’s fossil fuel operations while economists greet Adani’s rising ambition for renewable energies. An economic pull and push (Adani) framework is warranted since the world needs a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. But what is largely missing in a market-driven global narrative is a reflection on the concentration of Power in the hands of the Adani Group, and its implications for India’s political economy and democracy as it moves towards clean energy.
Closely related is the issue of just and lasting solutions for indigenous peoples and vulnerable communities around the world, who live with intergenerational and intersectional injustices and who are now also the most sensitive to climate change.
Take the case of the huge solar parks in Adani. These projects spark protests from farmers, who risk being alienated from their agricultural lands, common pastures and water sources. In the place of to favor an energy democracy – through decentralized power generation for over 200 million largely rural and poor Indians living without electricity – large-scale, industrial-scale renewables can violate communities just like coal, large dams and nuclear projects have done.
The climate regime was formed against a backdrop of neoliberal globalization; his rules protect the interests of the world’s elites but not the world’s majority.
The New Delhi-based Center for Science and Environment is a leading civil society actor who has been involved in the early stages of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process. He argues that the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) carbon market, set up under the Kyoto Protocol, has failed due to lack of transparency and corruption, and because developed countries could offset their emissions through projects in developing countries. Likewise, developing countries could generate cheap credits without changing their overall emissions.
Global climate diplomacy – which takes place behind the scenes at COP meetings and elsewhere – is led by the world’s richest nations, who have been instrumental in establishing the dangerous net zero trap, with its over-reliance on technological solutions instead of real and significant emission reductions.
Climate diplomacy has pulled and pushed India on coal versus renewables. India is the world’s third largest emitter of carbon dioxide and coal generates 56% of its electricity. The UN Secretary General urged India “will quickly and permanently turn away from coal” in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s post-pandemic recovery.
The UN awarded Modi the “Champion of the Earth Prize” in 2018 with French President Emmanuel Macron for defending the International Solar Alliance, a move that civil society groups have declared contradicts the environmental record of the Indian government.
In climate diplomacy and international negotiations, the Indian government defines climate justice as its right to develop as a postcolonial nation and to be able to protect its vulnerable poor by providing them with the benefits of safe housing, electricity and development, to give them a better chance to cope with climate change.
He also calls on Western countries that are historically responsible for climate change to take bigger action. India has about 18% of the world’s population. Even though its overall emissions are among the highest, India has one of the lowest per capita emissions, due to negligible emissions from a large rural and poor population.
During the Kyoto period, these views joined those of civil society actors who emphasized the difference between “luxury emissions of the rich and subsistence emissions of the poor”, arguing for common but differentiated responsibilities on “global warming”. climate in a Unequal World”.
But with emissions starting to increase significantly after 2005, as India embarked on a 7-8% GDP growth path, another climate justice approach has highlighted India’s internal inequality. – between the urban elites and the rural poor who bear the greatest climate burden – asking governments not to “hide Behind poor people”.
Since 2008, India has developed “National action plans” which aim to “increase the standard of living of a large majority” in order to reduce their “vulnerability to the impacts of climate change” while simultaneously making this development path “environmentally sustainable”.
India’s commitments in Paris did not indicate when coal consumption will peak, but set ambitious targets for the development of renewable energy. India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for the period 2021-2030 submitted to Paris had set a target of reducing GHG emissions intensity by 33-35% from 2005 levels.
Securing finance developed countries for developing countries to switch to cleaner energy and tackle climate impacts is one of the most critical issues at the Glasgow table. The Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD), a partnership between the United States and India, was established to help India meet its ambitious target of 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. In Glasgow, India ambitious The plan for a global solar grid – One Sun One World One Grid (OSWOG) – capable of transferring solar energy from one part of the world to another – will be adopted.
According to a guidance note According to the think tank, Energy, Environment and Water Council, India’s net zero target of 2070 is also when the country will meet the country’s definition of being developed .
Compared to the first negotiations of the 1990s, India, as a large privatized economy, now negotiates under the neoliberal climate regime through a set of contradictory actions – it puts ambitious goals on the table and innovations in renewable energies while demonstrating a conservatism to keep coal at the heart of the energy mix, even if no new coal mines are necessary.
India’s postcolonial climate diplomacy cannot be ruled out, especially given the approach taken by the latecomers in the developed world like Australia – one of the world’s largest per capita emitters and the largest exporter of coal. Australia’s recently announced 2050 net zero target lack a feasible path and mistake the need to phase out coal production.
But India’s international climate relations and the international community’s support for the climate regime must be seen in light of the many economic, social, political and ecological contradictions which pose an internal challenge.
India is one of the most climate vulnerable regions in the world due to its disproportionate burden on the poor. Impacts that have already started to manifest and are likely to intensify include displacement caused by sea level rise and coastal erosion, increased frequency and duration of heat stress, l worsening tropical cyclones, melting glaciers, impacts of monsoon variability on agriculture – 65% of which depends on population and water supply hazards.
The latest IPCC report signaled that the subcontinent will face irreversible impacts that cannot be corrected even with lower emissions.
The advance of the climate crisis, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few large industrialists and the rise in environmental conflicts linked to land-intensive industrial projects are opening up new fronts. People-centered solutions are emerging from the grassroots in India and must be represented in the global climate discourse.
Such network, the South Asian Peoples’ Action Against the Climate Crisis (SAPACC), is a unique collaboration between grassroots movements, indigenous groups, unions and farmers across South Asia. It marks an emerging space in mass activism in the region, placing climate change at the heart of grassroots movements and attempting to link existing struggles of subsistence communities to the larger issue of climate change. Based on science and mass action, networks like SAPACC aim to influence public policies on climate change in South Asia and focus on democracy and people-centered solutions.
Instead of criticizing India’s net zero target for 2070 as too late, and praising India’s growth and renewable energy ambition, climate groups can look into the question of what constitutes climate justice for the vast majority of the Indian population and how and what climate solutions they need. .
[Ruchira Talukdar is a researcher and writer on climate and environmental politics and social movements. She is a co-founder at Sapna South Asian Climate Solidarity, an Australia based network that gives platform to South Asian Climate Justice stories. She lives in Melbourne on the lands of the Wurundgeri People.]