Sunday, November 25, 2007

Putting the Lie to Harper's Nonsense About India

Mike at Rational Reasons is currently in India on business. We hear a lot about India from our imperial leader, Stephano Harpo. He says we can't consider tough action on global warming until we get emerging economic powers, like India, onside. Absolutely pointless for Canada to waste its breath on curbing greenhouse gas emissions until offenders such as India get on board.

Mike left the following comment to one of my earlier posts. It's a comment that deserves a proper post of its own, so here it is:

"OK, lets put to rest this nonsense about needing China and India and the US, because a lot of simpletons like to repeat that meme but no one seems to actually know the facts.

I am in India right now and I have seen first hand what they are doing:

1. Most vehicles in India are motor bikes and scooters. Very good on gas. They have an all electric model on the market now too, meaning no gas and no emissions.

2. Every car in India -EVERY car - must have a sticker on its driver's side (right) headlight indicating it is a low emission vehicle, or the vehicle can't be sold or driven.

3. Most of the cars are less than 5 years old. It is rare to see an older one, with the exception of a original Indian model, which was made back in the 60's. It is a diesel, meaning it is already getting better milage than most gasoline cars AND can run on bio-diesel or unmodified vegetable oil if needed.

4. In India almost everything that is thrown away is recycled. In Mumbai, you can actually sell your garbage to people who will take it to recycling depots - there is a market for it. Old electronic components are stripped for there metals and usable parts - hell almost anything is stripped this way.

5. Being Environmentally Friendly is a huge advantage that Indian companies are using to lure more business. It is bad business for this grow, red hot economy to NOT be environmentally friendly.

6. Most gas in India is high grade, low emission fuel or diesel.

7. India is still emitting a small fraction of the GHG that we do. Companies here are actively investing and trying to create low emission alternatives because it is good for business.

In other words, India is doing stuff to lower emissions and meet Kyoto without even signing it. They are doing FAR more than Canada, and we signed it.So conservative whiners can sure stop using India as an excuse for in action. They are already working at the problem.

And a big thanks to you, Mike.


Scruffy Dan said...

Not to mention that the per-capita emissions of India are much lower than ours.

The Mound of Sound said...

They definitely are, Dan. I think it may come down to the point where we have to ask, in a world suffering from excessive GHG emissions, what makes North Americans believe we can continue to produce five times the global average? Just what gives us that right, especially as others who produce an astonishingly small percentage of our emissions are destined to suffer most from our excesses? In other words, Harpo and his supporters will have to say that we're entitled to inflict ourselves on others, at extreme costs to them, because we damn well feel like it.

Anonymous said...

If India is emitting as little green house gasses as you say and are already making efforts to reduce it, then why won't they come onboard and agree to an emission target? If global warming is a worldwide problem, then why should some countries have targets while others are exempt?

Mike said...

Oh I might add that since I made that post, I have seen an ad for another all electric scooter by Hero (the Indian Honda affiliate). Ah, the power of the market!


In case you missed it, there was a meeting earlier in the week of the Commonwealth where they tried to push for higher, hard emissions target. All the countries agree to those higher targets, including India, but it was Canada that refused and watered down the proposal.

So, they have tried to agree to targets. Only to have Harper kibosh them and use their lack of targets as an excuse to not have targets.

That's some catch that catch-22. Joseph Heller must be proud...

If global warming is a worldwide problem, then why should some countries have targets while others are exempt?

Gosh do you think that the countries that have targets (like Canada and Europe) are the ones that have the most emissions and have been doing it for over a century and the ones without have much lower emissions and have been doing it for perhaps 20 years?

Not to mention we signed a treaty stating we would at least try to meet the targets. But if you don't mind Canada being seen as a liar and untrustworthy on the world stage, have at it.

Anonymous said...

India has publicly stated they will cap their per-capita emissions at what the Western world's are, but other channels have suggested this is merely a posturing reaction to the demand by some (in order, Howard, Harper, Bush) that existing world GDPs be encased in stone by homogenous caps. There is surely some middle ground where those who have reached consumer status and 70 something life expectancies, pay a toll to ensure the future survival of modern civilization.

1) India doesn't have the historical emissions Canada does. 2) India will be far more affected by missing/extreme monsoons, regional migration and flooding than will Canada be affected by warmer prairies.
3) India can't afford to cap emissions via Kyoto without losing out on massive longevity gains, Canada can. This is in Canada's self-interest as without healthy Indians all the electronic consumer crap in the coming decades will have crappy programming and break down.

I'd think Africa would agree to a cap where they are treated better than are India, who are treated better than China, who are treated better than Russia, who are treated better than the West.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Phillip. Good points. I wish we in the West had a capacity for your nuanced approach. The worst thing on the planet would be for India to generate per-capita GHG emissions at Western standards. We and our lovely planet would quickly become toast.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if S.Harper's Global Warming denial/stall position is because Africans are black, or just because they are poor (of course, the latter).

The Mound of Sound said...

Phillip, how could you even suggest such a thing? Check out my next post "Harper's Deliciously Perverse Logic."

Anonymous said...

To add to Mike's blog....India also uses solar stoves to cook.. Guess where they are made? In Wales.

Mike said...

One small correction to my rant. India has, in fact, signed Kyoto, but is exempt because in 1990 they were emitting next to nothing in GHGs, so requiring them to return to 1990 levels would kill their entire economy. Canada and the US, on the other hand, had a very large and robust economy, even in 1990.