India and the Environment Debate

Issue & Policy Briefs September 16, 2011, No. 74

Many in the international community have long anticipated the BRIC nations to assert their leadership in the global
community. Yet it came as a surprise when India, at the UN Climate Conference in Cancun last year, took up the
reigns in discussing binding cuts to carbon emissions. It was a surprise for two reasons. As a large BRIC nation in
the midst of development the country is widely excused for sizeable carbon emissions, the onus for cuts, many claim,
should rest on the heads of the west. Furthermore, India has long and staunchly maintained its opposition to such
cuts. As the 2011 Climate Conference in South Africa approaches, many are questioning whether this was simply a unique display of leadership or if India will in fact be leading the way towards a much needed climate deal.

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