For more than 20 years, international climate talks have been dominated by a schism between those who created the problem of climate change (largely the United States and nations of the European Union) and those who would greatly contribute to it moving forward (largely China and India). But as climate negotiators meet in Lima, Peru, this week and next, and news reports are full of gloomy predictions that the negotiations will produce little, there are increasing signs that this stalemate may have been broken. This emerging shift is due in large part to China and its decision to break ranks and join the United States in making commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

One critical question now is whether India – the country that has stood by China’s side in climate talks and is now the world’s third-largest emitter – will follow suit in a meaningful way at the Lima negotiations. And there seems to be a surprisingly high chance that India will.

China and India share a common domestic problem – one that has motivated China’s leaders to act, and could motivate India’s. That is, the fossil fuels that cause climate change also produce local air pollution. This has risen to deadly levels, with all of the Chinese and Indian cities that the World Health Organization monitors for air pollution failing the organization’s test for acceptable levels of airborne particulate, widely believed to be the most dangerous air pollutant for human health. More than half of these cities also fail their own countries’ particulates standards.

Continue reading at the NY Times Upshot Blog…

Areas of Focus: Climate Change
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Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Environment
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Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Air Pollution
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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...
Fossil Fuels
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Fossil Fuels
Under current policies, fossil fuels will play an important role in the energy system for the foreseeable future. EPIC research is exploring the costs and benefits of these fuels as...
Climate Law & Policy
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Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.
EPIC-China
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EPIC-China
China is indisputably critical to addressing the global energy challenge. China is one of the world’s biggest economies, its top carbon emitter, and among its most polluted countries. Yet, China...