There is far less support for climate policies in rich nations, says Chief Economic Adviser

New Delhi, 6 Jun (PTI): Chief Economic Adviser V Anantha Nageswaran on Monday said that developed countries need to convince their public about the urgency to adopt climate change mitigation policies and observed that there is far less support for climate policies, including tax on fossil fuels, in rich nations.

Referring to the issue of funding by developed nations to poor countries to deal with climate change, Nageswaran said it was unrealistic because they have far bigger challenges to face at home.

In high income countries, there is far less support for climate policies, including tax on fossil fuels, he said at an event here. While noting that when developed countries tell developing countries and emerging economies what they should be doing going forward, Nageswaran said there is an even urgent and more important task in their hands.

“That is to convince their own public of the importance of climate change mitigation policies.

“… they have far bigger problems to make climate policies work in their countries without hurting themselves fiscally,” he said.

Citing a report, Nageswaran pointed out that while overall support for green policy is lowest in Denmark, France, Germany followed by Australia, countries particularly opposed to carbon taxes are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the UK and the US.

“Therefore, when we look for funding support from developed countries, it is unrealistic because they have far bigger challenges to face at home,” he said.

Emphasising that finance is of key essence, and there is a need to mobilise finance through public, private and multilateral sources, Nageswaran said, “we should not jeopardise fiscal health of both developed and developing countries.” He pointed out that post 2008 and post 2020, both developed and developing countries are facing huge debt burdens and therefore, debt servicing will become onerous as interest rates rise.

The CEA also pitched for greater investments in metals and minerals for renewable energy technologies, which are highly metal-intensive.

“Even if investment is made, we have to have an international regulator to be able to ensure that they are available to all countries if we want all countries to progress to net-zero emissions by 2050 or 2070 at the same time…imagine the quantum of these metals and minerals required,” he noted.

He said infrastructure development is critical for the Indian economy and asset monetisation is about economic efficiency of assets.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a bold pledge that India will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070 and asserted that it is the only country that is delivering in “letter and spirit” the commitments on tackling climate change under the Paris Agreement.

Modi had also said that India is putting climate change at centre of its policies and stressed on the need to include climate adaptation policies in school syllabus to make the next generation aware of the issues.