19.2        ndian    onom
                                                            conditions. Climate science has rightly taken
        IntroductIon                                        up an important position in the public debate.
     Improving living standards for mankind has been        Even as the science of climate change grapples
     the single minded goal of all nations and world        with uncertainties, the world is witnessing more
     bodies. After defining development in numerous         extreme events. With rising extreme events, and
     ways for over two decades, there seems to be a         rising citizen demand, the world has little option
     consensus on ‘Human Development’. While a              but to listen to the voice of evolving science and
     large population on the earth is still to get the      respond adequately with strategies and policies
     ‘bare minimum’ for development, humanity is at         rooted in the principles of multilateralism with
     the crossroads where it is faced with the first of its equitable and fair burden sharing.1
     kind challenge—the challenge of ‘climate change’.            Since 2010 onwards, the world has witnessed
     The dilemma is that whatever we can do for our         increasing numbers of natural disasters and
     development, there has to be a repercussion on         extreme weather conditions—frequently getting
     nature. An even bigger dilemma is in achieving a       news headlines across the world. Policy-makers
     global consensus on how to check or restrict and       have been facing enormous pressure on availability
     finally reverse the process of climate change.         of clean air, water and energy together with the
          We may consider the year 2012, arguably,          problems of poverty and hunger, especially in
     a high water mark in the field of environment          the developing world. Though, the concerns
     and sustainable development initiatives. The           of climate and environment have been there in
     global community met at the UN Conference on           India’s policies, we see it increasing in the past
     Sustainable Development that took place in Rio         half a decade. It was in Economic Survey 2011–12
     in June 2012, also marking the 20th anniversary        that a chapter ‘Climate Change and Sustainable
     of the first Earth Summit held in 1992. The            Development’ appeared—the chapter has been
     conference reviewed the progress made, identified      retained by the upcoming volumes. This shows
     implementation gaps, and assessed new and              the inclusion of environmental concerns in India’s
     emerging challenges, which resulted in a political     policy-making.
     outcome called the ‘The Future We Want’. In                  The year 2015 witnessed two landmark
     India, the Twelfth Five Year Plan was launched         international events—the historic climate change
     with a focus on sustainable growth. This along         agreement under the UNFCCC in Paris in
     with sustainable development policies and              December 2015 and the adoption of the SDGs
     programmes, which are being followed signalled         (Sustainable Development Goals) in September
     to citizens at home and the world at large that        2015. The Paris Agreement aims at keeping the
     India is committed to sustainable development          rise in global temperatures well below 2°C,which
     with equal emphasis on its three dimensions—           will set the world towards a low carbon, resilient
     social, economic and environmental.                    and sustainable future, while the Sustainable
          A survey of the global comparative opinion        Development Goals, which replace the MDGs
     shows that people in India and indeed all              (Millennium Development Goals), set the
     countries, have a marked and rising concern about      development agenda for the next fifteen years.
     sustainable development and climate change (cited      On the domestic front too some important
     by the Economic Survey 2014–15). However,              climate-related initiatives were taken, including
     the challenges are also formidable, especially in
                                                                1.  Oliver Morton ‘Megachange: The World in 2050’, in
     the context of finding the matching resources                  Daniel Franklin and John Andrews, The Economist in
     of the required magnitude given the economic                   London: 2012) pp. 92–110.