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Experts say, Indian edition

10 May 2023 | OP ED Watch

Euronews.green has some advice from rich white people for poor brown people somewhere else, in keeping with our “Eco-Colonialism“ video. India must not make our mistake and get affordable energy. Instead they must become all Zen or something. “‘A new economy for happiness’: Here’s how experts think India can grow sustainably as its population passes 1.41 billion people.” And when experts think, can journalistic fatuity and political make-believe be far behind?

The piece feigns sympathy, saying that as it becomes the world’s most populous country:

“India is bearing the brunt of a climate crisis that its countrymen and women have not historically caused. Their children are entitled to a share of the carbon budget that cannot burn without blowing the Earth off a safe course for all its inhabitants.”

Now you may object that “the carbon budget that cannot burn without blowing Earth off a safe course” is not really a scientific statement, while Indian children being entitled to a budget that cannot burn is not really an economic statement.

It’s bad enough when people claim the Earth is being scorched by fossil fuels, let alone being blown off course. What is this, “When World Collide”? But if we can’t burn that budget without blowing the planet into the sun or whatever, handing it out seems the act of a madperson. Not that anyone has the authority to hand it out anyway, or punish China for spewing far more than its share.

Supposedly Justin Trudeau is going to use his great influence to shame the latter but as Jesse Kline warns, our government’s policy isn’t exactly grounded in practicalities. Instead, his son’s school turned off the lights to celebrate Earth Day and, in the darkness, let the kids play computer games. But:

“Canadians need to accept such incongruencies if they are expected to blindly support government policies that have a detrimental effect on their economic well-being, while achieving little more than virtue-signalling about climate change; and if they are going to pay more for basic amenities while China exploits the altruism of Canadians to gain an economic advantage.”

Speaking of spewing forth “carbon pollution”, India has also apparently belched out planet-blowing emissions in vast quantities for decades:

“India has emitted more than 85,000 GTCO2 between 1850 and 2021, Carbon Brief analysis shows. That puts it a sizable seventh on the leaderboard of historically most polluting countries; with the caveat that it was already in 9th position when it gained independence from the British.”

So bad India. But also poor India:

“But accounting for population size paints a different picture. India’s cumulative emissions per population in 2021 was only 61 tCO2, far below the US total of 1,547 tCO2. The country’s carbon budget is calculated based on its much bigger population – and it’s not nearly at the edges of it.”

Now hang on. If the concern is releasing CO2 that will scorch the planet while hurling it into the void, what the heck difference does it make if a lot of you are chipping in? And indeed “India is now the world’s third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the US.”

Boo. Bad India. Especially since it only plans to hit Net Zero by 2070, at which point we’ll be hurtling past Venus trailing smoke anyway. But its cabinet also pledged last summer “to reduce the ‘emissions intensity’ of India’s GDP by 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.” And if they don’t, well, stand by for more promises.

Also more demands for money. Its government “also vowed that around half of its installed electricity generating capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources by the end of the decade, provided finance is forthcoming from other countries.” And if not, your planet gets it.

Though the Manhattan Contrarian warns that they’d better beware because South Africa, which is desperately dependent on Western financing of its growing energy needs, might actually therefore become the first jurisdiction to “hit the green energy ‘wall’” ahead even of misguided California and New York State. After vast investments in wind and solar these two sources are supplying fully two and one percent of the country’s power respectively, which is failing fast with ever more rolling blackouts. As he rightly says:

“It’s disgusting to watch what the self-important international functionaries are doing to this poor country. But at least we’re learning what the green energy ‘wall’ looks like in practice.”

If India doesn’t get boodles of money from the Eco-Colonialists, your planet might just get more words:

“there is another, non-quantifiable element to the plan which goes by the acronym LiFE: Lifestyle for Environment. It’s described as a ‘one-word movement’, enlisting citizens ‘to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it.’”

Apparently it involves stuff like turning off the lights. Which isn’t a big sacrifice if, say, you’re among the one in eight Indian households without access to electricity, of course.

Out here in the real world, we grumps at CDN need to point out that “India’s power output grows at fastest pace in 33 years, fuelled by coal”. And one reason why was, um, “a colder-than-usual winter in northern India” due, no doubt, to global warming.

The funny thing is that this piece on how experts say India can “grow sustainably” and create “A new economy for happiness” doesn’t actually include their plan for how, um, India can grow sustainably and have nothing and be happy. Instead it says “Development is desperately needed in parts of India” then quotes some expert that “it’s that fine balance between providing enough energy, enough infrastructure to people for a decent quality of life, and checking overconsumption.”

This expert contributes the further deep thought “How do you make sustainability cool?” and then Euronews.green adds their own deep thought: “It’s a question with global relevance and no easy answer.” But another expert goes even deeper: “If we are aware of our daily activities, every moment, every minute, then there is a possibility that we can bring about a change in the world.”

A change. As Lily Tomlin once said, “All my life I’ve wanted to be somebody. But now I see I should have been more specific.” A realization that awaits the experts who say.

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