Amidst all the encouraging reports of improved relations between China and the West in the run up to this year's crucial UN climate change talks in Copenhagen, something rather large and important seems to have been forgotten. It's called India.
This is not to suggest that recent statements from Chinese officials indicating that they are increasingly likely to sign up to a deal are anything other than encouraging. But in the rush to talk up the chances of a meaningful deal now being agreed, there seems to be a collective desire to ignore the fact that without a similarly sense of conciliation between Indian and the West the whole process could still be easily derailed.
The last reports I read on India's position in the Copenhagen process suggested that it was taking a significantly tougher line than China on the central topic of emission targets and climate adaptation funding.
Indian officials have said they too take climate change extremely seriously and have also hinted that they are willing to subscribe to some form of targets if developed nations sign up to deeper cuts. But they have also been pretty vocal in declaring that they will not to sign up to any deal that would undermine efforts to tackle poverty (and why should they?).
There is also an awareness that the retreat of Himalayan glaciers coupled with the potential inundation of Bangladesh means that India will require billions of dollars of assistance if it is to prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change.
Equally, while China has made high profile investments in clean tech and rolled out a raft of new environmental regulations in recent years, progress in India has been far more patchy.
Even if China signs up to meaningful emission targets, there are no guarantees that India will simply follow suit.
You can understand the predicament faced by the Indian government.
Unlike its Chinese counterpart, it is democratically elected and will find it far harder to roll out climate change policies that might prove unpopular in the short term. Moreover, while China has famously spent much of the last two decades investing in the hard infrastructure that has underpinned its export-led economic miracle, India tended to focus more investment on the soft infrastructure of education. Consequently, it now boasts a world-renowned IT and outsourcing industry, but can not match the manufacturing expertise that should make it easier for China to build a clean tech sector.
You could not blame India if it decided that the financial support being offered by richer nations was insufficient to allow it to simultaneously meet emission targets while continuing to pull communities out of crippling poverty.
The problem for the Copenhagen process is that despite the understandable challenges India faces, any deal will be pretty much meaningless without its involvement.
The whole reason everyone is so desperate for a global deal is that without it some firms will simply relocate to countries without emission targets. I'd bet good money that there are already some morally and financially bankrupt governments calculating how much they would stand to gain by refusing to sign up to a deal and establishing themselves as "carbon tax havens" capable of attracting the world's most polluting industries.
There is a disproportionate focus on China given its status as the world's largest polluter, but India is not that far behind and as the second most populous country on Earth will almost certainly become the second largest emitter of carbon over the coming years.
Pressure will undoubtedly be brought to bear and any country that fails to sign up, even one as powerful as India, can expect to face carbon tariffs and sanctions, as well as international condemnation. But it would be far better for US and EU negotiators to now emulate the efforts they have apparently made with the Chinese, and ensure that India feels it will receive the financial support and realistic targets it needs if it is to sign up to a deal.
I don't doubt that the Indian government wants to see an agreement reached and it may well do so in the end, but there needs to be an acceptance that it could find it even harder than China to accept the terms currently being offered by developed nations.
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