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Building a Climate-Ready Indian State: Institutions and Governance for Transformative Low-Carbon Development

June 21, 2021

India approaches an important new phase in our engagement with global climate change. The decisions India makes in the coming years will define how successfully we are able to bring together development and low carbon futures, and our potential to signal leadership on this issue globally. How do we make these decisions evidence-based and consistent with both our long-term climate and development goals?

In a new policy brief titled Building a Climate-Ready Indian State, Navroz K. Dubash, Aditya Valiathan Pillai and Parth Bhatia lay out a plan to revitalize climate governance in India. They argue for a structure that addresses the governance challenges of coordination, building consensus around change, and setting strategic direction.

What would this look like?

At its core, they propose a non-executive and statutory body, the Low Carbon Development Commission, which combines stakeholder views and deep analytical capacity to lay out low-carbon development pathways. A development pathway approach implies going beyond core energy and emissions policies by considering deeper economic choices such as patterns of urbanisation, industrialisation, and job creation.
They bind the system together through procedural requirements that push ministries to set sectoral goals and report on them, and give Parliament and the public a greater role in overseeing national progress.
They give life to the system through new climate capacities layered across government.
This work is informed by an open-access academic paper on the evolution of Indian climate institutions by Aditya Valiathan Pillai and Navroz K. Dubash, which was recently published in the journal Environmental Politics.