Joachim Betz

India’s Turn in Climate Policy: Assessing the Interplay of Domestic and International Policy Change

GIGA Working Paper, No. 190, March 2012

Abstract
India has long been regarded as a deal‐breaker in international climate negotiations; it was at the summit in Copenhagen that India first abandoned its old strategic line and made a commitment to reduce carbon emissions voluntarily. This shift was accompanied by a proliferation of domestic initiatives to save energy, to develop regenerative energies, etc. Traditional IR approaches remain insufficient to explain this policy shift – which is the aim of this paper – insofar as they fail to adequately take into account the fact that climate policies have to confront two audiences: a domestic and an international one, each presenting different tactical necessities for official reaction. On the international front, we argue that globally, India intended to be perceived as a responsible actor, one deserving of a greater say in global governance matters. On the domestic level, shrinking national energy reserves and mounting import dependence made the co‐benefit of energy saving in reducing greenhouse gas emissions evident. The shift was made easier because important business associations aligned with a more eco‐friendly development perspective and because the reduction commitments made by the Indian government on an international stage did not demand very stringent domestic emission reductions.

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Prof. Dr. Joachim Betz is an associate at the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies and professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hamburg. His current research interests are climate and energy policies; political, social, and economic developments in South Asia; and international development policies.

Recent Publications by the Authors

Joachim Betz

India's Social Policies: Recent Changes for the Better and Their Causes

GIGA Working Paper, No. 314, January 2019

Daniel Neff / Joachim Betz

Gender Justice as an International Objective: India in the G20

GIGA Focus Asia, 03/2017

Joachim Betz / Daniel Neff

Social Policy Diffusion in South Asia

Journal of Asian Public Policy, 10, 2017, 1, 25-39

Joachim Betz

(Keine) Wege aus dem Energie- und Klimadilemma

Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 66, 2016, 12-13, 25-31