India's role at Copenhagen

Returning to the issue of Climate Change, there are clearly two scientist camps: the first one believes human activity causes global warming, and the second one doesn't  (and even accuses the first camp of data manipulation in its simulation models). There is a seemingly never-ending controversy between these two schools of thought.

On the other hand, there are two political camps, too. The first camp is led by Washington DC which has succeeded in creating a global hysteria about Climate Change based on its domestic agenda to create 5 million "green energy" US jobs "which cannot be outsourced". The second camp is led by libertarian institutes such as the CATO institute and the Reason Foundation (both US-based) which allege that Washington DC is simply fooling the world in order to walk away with 15 billion dollars of yearly taxpayer revenue and thereby violating their liberty.

It is trivial to guess which scientific camp is funded by Washington DC, and which one has libertarian friends coming over for dinner in the upcoming year-end holiday season.

So what is the right way for India to decide on the issue of Climate Change when US scientists and US political pundits are divided on the question, and there is no credible Indian scientific consensus on the issue (a consensus not funded by Washington DC either directly or indirectly)? We haven't heard of our universities doing any significant independent research on this issue and having reached a conclusion, after all.

To me, it is very clear that there is no credible data which shows either that climate change is happening due to human activity, or that it is not (although my personal bias lies in the former, due to my own simplistic understanding of the world). Thus, India's stand cannot be based on data. Nor is there a credible interpretation of existing data which can lead to the facts. Thus, both pratyaksha and anumaana are ruled out as valid sources of information.

The only thing which remains is aagama, as per Indian philosophy. And what does aagama tell you? It tells you that unquenched thirst for material possessions is inherently bad; it tells you that it is inherently a-spiritual. Whether economic progress is a zero-sum game as I assumed in my first article, or not, unquenched thirst for material possessions leads man away from spiritual achievement. Thus, there is no doubt whatsoever that the message from the greatest sages that have lived in India is for the developed world to exercise self-restraint in its mad rush to achieve greater and greater material prosperity. After all, life is not just about material.

Now, this sermon ought to be given to the developed nations led by Washington DC, and not to the poor and developing nations where the basic necessities of life are beyond the reach of billions of people. The poor and developing nations should sternly maintain the stance that it is their right to achieve economic development, even at the cost of creating global climate change as alleged by the first school of scientists alluded to above. If it is true that the developed countries have a true concern for the safety of this planet, and if it is true that economic development is a zero-sum game, there is no other option but for the developed nations to reduce their own economic activity, i.e., move towards sufficiency in economic activity and material possessions.

So, must India accept Washington-funded science and Washington-driven actions? Of course, not. India should unconditionally put its foot down on any emission cuts (either legally binding or otherwise), since there is no credible data based on which it is being asked to reduce emissions. Readers will notice that this unconditionality is a change of stance on Karnatique. I had earlier argued that developing countries
cannot and must not cut carbon emission unless they are compensated in time and money by those who have overtaken them in economic development and goad them with greed of material prosperity
But I have come to believe that it is next to impossible for any equitable compensation to be worked out between the haves and the have-nots at Copenhagen. The negotiations can only prove, once again, that "might is right". After all, nobody is even questioning whether this whole hue and cry about human activity causing climate change is true! Developing countries have already lost in the negotiations by buying the argument that the theory is true - based on what is claimed as gospel truth by scientists funded by the well-fed nations!

Further, India must, as I have argued earlier, take up the task of delivering the message of our aagamas that in sufficiency lies the good of the people of those developed nations; the developed nations will not collapse if they restrain their thirst for material possessions; happiness is not present in them, it is achievable through sciences which have been long perfected in India. India should, simultaneously, argue for the developing nations to freely excercise their right to economic development without worrying about the alleged global climate change. The onus is on those who created the mess, if any, to clean it up.


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