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India's Next Decade Could Decide the Future of Our Climate

At the Paris climate change conference last month, Secretary of State John Kerry called India a “challenge” and said the expansion of the country’s coal industry was moving it in the wrong direction. Several reporters—most of whom had little insight into the negotiations—piled on.

I guess every media narrative needs a villain. On climate, it used to be China. Now it’s India.

How was India cast into this role? The journalist Michael Kinsley once said, “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth—some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” From an American perspective, India is prone to climate change gaffes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tells reporters at every opportunity that Western countries, not India, are responsible for our warming planet. While the Paris conference pressed on in early December, heavy rains caused floods in southeastern India, killing hundreds in the city of Chennai. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar blamed greenhouse gas emissions from the developed world for the deluges.

Sandee Pachetan

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