Carbon tax vs cheap talk
India should tax carbon at rates that will embarrass the rich world. We can bargain for deals compensating for rich countries’ previous profligacy later. Unilateral action on taxes will not only help India claim the moral high ground—a good place to bargain—but also help fix some of our own problems.
Carbon taxes are easily assessed on fixed location industrial activities and on fuel sources for automobiles, heating and cooking fuels. This is a good place to start. Actually, implementing taxes that are the true instruments for pollution reduction rather than declaring ‘targets’ for emission control would be another way of leading the rich countries to good behaviour. Let’s face it: ‘targets’ are empty promises. Concrete policy moves show true commitment. They can also be adapted as their effects are monitored and judged. Easily administered taxes should be announced and acted on as quickly as possible so that there is no accusation of ‘cheap talk’ on India’s part as it deals with the rest of the world.
The country’s self-interest
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