India, and many developing nations in other parts of the world take solace in the U-shaped Kuznets curve: a belief in this inverse relationship between income and environmental quality results in not enough efforts being made to tackle pollution and environmental degradation in these countries. There is an urgent need for policy which can protect societies and people from the adverse effects of climate change.

In this edition of I4I Conversations, Anant Sudarshan and Michael Greenstone discuss their work as environmental economists, and the many ways in which they have been able to use research to help guide policy. This includes their work on emissions trading in Surat, the cap-and-trade market in Gujarat, and clean cookstoves in Orissa. In that context, they list some of the difficulties with environmental regulation, such as the reluctance to install emissions monitors and falsification of the readings. They also delve into the trade-off between finding energy sources that are inexpensive and environmentally friendly – for instance, biomass, although a renewable energy source, is responsible for a large share of air pollution.

They touch upon India’s ranking on the recent Yale Environmental Performance Index and go on to emphasise the role of state capacity in ensuring low pollution levels – specifically, the importance of clearly defining and implementing government intervention. They conclude with the political economy and geopolitical challenges of adapting to climate change, including barriers to migration, and the need for countries to collaborate in order to deal with climate change.

Via Ideas for India

Areas of Focus: Air Pollution
Definition
Air Pollution
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion poses a grave threat to human health worldwide. EPIC research is using real-world data to calculate the effects of air pollution on human health...
Energy Markets
Definition
Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Electric Power
Definition
Electric Power
As the electric power system faces new pressures and opportunities, EPIC research is working to identify the mix of policies needed to accelerate the global transition to clean, reliable, affordable...