Will India Capitulate at Copenhagen?

The answer unfortunately is yes, perhaps! In my latest Wall Street Journal column, I write:

In the pre-iTunes, pre-MTV age, there was usually a multiyear lag before hit songs in the West reached India. Now India is experiencing a similar time-lag on global warming. Just when fresh doubts about the issue are emerging in the West, India is flirting with the idea of hopping on the global-warming bandwagon at the Copenhagen climate-change summit next week.

This is in large part a misguided attempt to bolster India’s political standing in the world. In an October letter to the prime minister conveniently leaked to the press, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh expressed concern that India’s intransigence on the issue was making it a pariah among developed countries, jeopardizing its bid for permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council. He counseled that India delink itself from the Group of 77 developing nations resisting forced emission cuts without compensation, and instead make common cause with the Group of 20 rich countries pushing for climate action.

The only problem is that India’s poor — millions of whom live on a dollar a day — will pay the price of the desire of its polical elites to join the global rich guys club through: higher energy costs; lower access to all the things that everyone in rich countries takes for granted; and greater exposure to floods, heat waves and other dire effects of global warming should they ever materialize.

Read the whole thing here.