India’s Evolving Climate Change Strategy
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India, along with most other developing countries, has viewed climate change as an environmental concern that first and foremost must be addressed by the industrialized west. As a developing country with a massive population living in poverty, India’s priority lies with the development challenges it faces. As a result, domestic action on climate change has been minimal and to the extent that it existed, it was primarily viewed as a “co-benefit” of another policy. Only in 2008, primarily due to increasing pressure from the international community and India’s growing status as a major economy, that a dramatic shift was seen in India’s approach to addressing climate change. The release of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, a comprehensive framework policy where climate change was the central focus, marked this change. Since then, India has built on the National Plan and undertaken various initiatives that point towards its commitment on this issue. This chapter explores the evolution of domestic climate policy-making in India – from the period where climate was considered purely a “first world problem” to one where India is now proactively engaging at all levels to address climate change.