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  • Author: Tofiq Siddiqi
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Energy and climate change are two important areas in which there is much more cooperation than competition between China and India. After a few years of trying to outbid each other for oil and gas exploration and production licenses, both have found it more productive to bid jointly for many such contracts. Even though neither China nor India has agreed to limits on their emissions of greenhouse gases, both are committed to reducing the carbon intensity of their development, by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 for China, and 20 to 25 percent over the same time period for India. To achieve these goals, the two countries have launched major programs to install power plants using renewable energy sources and nuclear energy, and to increase the efficiency of energy use. It is unlikely that either China or India will agree to absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from their present levels soon, but they may be willing to cap them at future levels that still permit their future per capita income to become comparable to that of countries in Western Europe. At the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, China was strongly supportive of a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol for a second commitment period, but India indicated that it may be willing to explore other approaches suggested by the United States, the EU and small island nations. Though their paths to addressing climate change may begin to differ, it is highly likely that China and India will continue to share the same strategic goal of achieving parity with the West in terms of standard of living of their populations, even if it means higher emissions for another decade or two.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Oil
  • Political Geography: China, India, Western Europe