In an article for Live Mint and the Wall Street Journal, Arunabha Ghosh (A21 Young Leader, New Delhi 2011) discusses one of India’s main concerns: resource security and meeting the basic material needs of its growing population.
“Energy, food, water and climate” Ghosh writes, “form a resource nexus,” with the price, availability and quality of each of these resources affecting the other three. For instance, oil accounts for 42% of agricultural energy use, and unreliable electric infrastructure leads farmers to over-extract groundwater “leading to both water and energy shortages and land degradation” Food markets are affected by biofuels, and subsidies and water-intensive crops deplete the sustainability of water resources. Drops in water output can threaten agricultural productivity and power plants, which account for 88% of all industrial water use, can also be affected. Ghosh calls for India to “act at home and… [reform] global governance of resources,” with five “priority actions.” The first is to develop resource transportation infrastructure, especially in the energy sector. The second is to promote distributed energy infrastructure. Thirdly, in the face of a changing global energy market, India needs to “actively work with other second-tier energy demanders to develop regional and multilateral energy regimes” to ensure energy resource stability for net importers. Fourth, India needs to promote water use efficiency in the agricultural sector. Finally, Ghosh exhorts that India must “emphasize basic needs against mercantilist negotiating positions,” becoming a voice for reforming global policy to “align with its development needs.” Ensuring India’s needs are met as the world begins to address climate change will require an active stance and new allies on the global stage.
Read the article here.