Much has changed after the collapse of the world trade towers of 11th September, the US invaded Iraq under the pretext of salvaging the source of terrorism and Afghanistan was immersed into a prolonged gory war ending recently with the reinstatement of the Taliban.
By Syed Ali,
The 9/11 attacks changed the global landscape on International security policy, the world as we know today, is a post 9/11 culmination, much like the ‘post-second world war’ for Europe and North America, and ‘post Westphalia for Europe. The 9/11 recalibrated the US’s relationship with the world being the undisputed hegemon after the cold war. Much has changed after the collapse of the world trade towers of 11th September, the US invaded Iraq under the pretext of salvaging the source of terrorism and Afghanistan was immersed into a prolonged gory war ending recently with the reinstatement of the Taliban.
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The post 9/11 decades also harboured a gamut of international treaties along with the re-strengthening of the NATO alliance after the breakup of the Soviet Union and a re-invigorated partnership with India based on internal security and counter-terrorism. India-US partnership saw its epochal moment with the signing of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, in addition to numerous agreements on Trade, Education, Space, Health, Science & Technology, Energy and Climate Change. These agreements have shaped India’s relationship with the USA and have brought the two democracies closer together in the International arena. The future of the India-US relationship is linked to the future of our planet threatened by global warming caused by ceaseless carbon emissions. Besides, sharing core values such as democracy, universal adult franchise and freedom of speech, India and the USA are also the biggest C02 emitters and this is also an area where the two nations are incompatible in International forums.
With Joe Biden’s presidency, Climate Change has taken a front seat in comparison to the previous administration’s shameless denial of Climate change. The sustainable future of the India-US relationship is beyond QUAD and 2+2–Climate action is going to be the core pillar of this relationship for the foreseeable future. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made no bones about his ambitious climate change strategy and his willingness to forge global partnerships centered on Climate Change. India has prioritized ‘mitigation and adaptation’ through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance or Coalition for Disaster resilient infrastructure. President Biden has re-entered the Paris agreement and infused it with otherwise lacking vigor needed to build a consensus on emission declarations and long-term strategies for weaning off carbon-based fuels powering the developing economies. The US accession to the Paris agreement is also significant because it brings along with it–much coveted clean technologies and finance mobilization capacity to support the transition.
The driving factors for an effective decarbonisation strategy are cleantech and finance mobilization. The US holds the key to both the drivers; tech and finance, the US stands at 5th spot on innovation in clean-tech as compared to India on 29th spot, as per the Global Clean-tech Innovation Index. India’s total investment in climate change has stood around $20 billion. This is 8 % of the total investments required to finance India’s annual climate action plan towards executing a resilient adaptation and mitigation strategy. On the other hand, the US has re-emerged as the leader in Climate action through its internal and external policies; by pledging more than $36 billion to fight global climate change, an increase of more than $14 billion, compared with 2021 the US further intends to double its funding by 2024 to developing countries. Most importantly, the US’s working relationship with its partners is increasingly steering towards public investments in climate, enhancement of technical assistance, and long-term capacity, aligning support with country needs and priorities, by boosting investments in adaptation and resilience. With an impetus provided by the US, major multilateral development banks (MDBs) have also increased their commitment to a total of US$ 66 billion from US$ 61.6 billion in 2019 in Climate finance, according to the 2020 Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’.
Besides finance, Technology transfer plays a critical role in the effective global response to the climate change challenge. India and US partnership can drive the scale for tech adoption in cleantech driving the cost down and subsequently leading to the universalization of carbon-neutral technologies. The gap in cleantech is across the developing world and the lack of innovation and marketing of solutions is keeping the tech away from applying the adaptation measures needed to combat climate change. Today, developing countries face the dual challenge of combating climate change and achieving economic growth simultaneously because they lack the technological sophistication required to deal with this challenge. If these countries depended solely on indigenously developed technology, it would take much longer for them to achieve the level of technological advancement that developed countries already have, delaying global action to address climate change. Thus, technology transfer from developed countries to developing countries, particularly India, becomes a crucial component of an international climate action plan.
The future of India-US partnership after two decades of 9/11 is based on environmental security, a step ahead of internal security and counter-terrorism. The India-US ‘Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership’ is a step in the right direction to stimulate and channelize climate action. The decade after the devastating 9/11 attacks changed world history, however, climate change may make our world lost in history.
(The author is an independent analyst on Policy and Sustainability. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)