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Institutionalizing Climate Governance in India: The Challenges of a Premature Power

Wednesday October 17, 2018, from 13:30 to 15:00
Room 24.019 (Ground floor). Mercè Rodoreda 24 building
Research seminar

Navroz Dubash (Centre for Policy Research)

Following the Paris Agreement, which is built around "nationally determined contributions", attention has now turned to understanding whether and how countries will organise themselves internally to act on these contributions, and with what vigour. The answer is not obvious. Both climate mitigation and adaptation are meta issues that cut across institutional silos of line ministries. Institutionalising a response to climate change involves, at minimum, solving complex coordination across ministries, developing monitoring and reporting structures, motivating actions across scales of governance, and coordinating with emergent non-state actor led climate action. Bringing about change will likely require shifting incentives, disrupting existing narratives, and side-lining currently dominant interests.

Using the example of India, this talk will explore the conceptual and practical challenges of institutionalising climate governance. I will argue that national climate institutions are first constrained and shaped by national political understandings around climate action. In the case of India the idea of ‘co-benefits’ is determinative. In addition, the interplay with global political processes, national governance capabilities and histories, and the evolution of national climate politics are all important factors. The next challenge for climate governance may well be to build effective domestic climate institutions and an important intellectual agenda understanding how to do so in varied national geographies.

Navroz K Dubash is a professor at CPR and coordinator of the Initiative on Climate, Energy, and Environment. His research and policy interests include climate change policy and governance, the political economy of energy and water, the regulatory state in the developing world and the role of civil society in global environmental governance. In 2015 he was conferred the 12th T N Khoshoo Memorial Award in recognition of the impact of his work on Indian climate change policy and the international discourse on global climate governance.