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The green economy in the G-20, post-Mexico: implications for India

India’s embrace of ‘green growth’ is linked to its membership of the G-20 group, which had adopted the concept as a key priority at the Seoul G-20 Leaders’ Summit in 2010. India had historically interpreted carbon emission controls as an unfair burden on its fossil fuel-fired quest for poverty reduction through economic growth, but the idea of green growth has changed the terms of the debate.

As a large and powerful member of the G-20, India’s primary concern is to be a responsible partner of the group. This calls for the whole-hearted adoption of the concept of green growth. However, as a country characterised by pervasive poverty, India’s concern is to ensure that the adoption of the concept does not compromise its key objective of poverty reduction.

This paper explores how the idea of green growth is being interpreted, implemented and contested in India by various stakeholders.  The author shows that India’s policy documents consistently express two specific concerns over adopting green growth policies. The first is that India may have to ‘sacrifice’ a significant proportion of its GDP growth if it takes a green path.The second concern over choosing a green path to growth reiterated in many of India’s economic policy documents is that there is no commitment to additional funding from developed nations.