India cracks down on climate change wreckers

The Indian government falls off Obama's low-emission bandwagon and puts Greenpeace and other ‘activist’ groups under the scanner, saying the climate change agenda is hurting economic growth

Not so welcome these days in India
Vijeta Uniyal
On 22 June 2014 10:29

Last week, President Barack Obama again had a ‘professorial relapse’ while speaking to the graduating class at UC Irvine. He talked at length on the most pressing issue at hand -- no, not the hordes of jihadists murdering and pillaging their way to the gates of Baghdad, but on climate change. 

He made a passionate call for global action to meet the challenge. But as luck has it, some key allies have just fallen off President Obama’s ‘low-emission’ climate change bandwagon.

Only last week the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, declared that economic interests would trump the climate change agenda. Now, India’s newly elected government is set to crack down on climate change activism led by Greenpeace and others -- calling it a threat to national economic security.

In a recent report, the domestic intelligence agency of India accuses Greenpeace and other activists groups of hurting the country’s economic interests by funding agitations aimed at delaying and disrupting projects related to power generation, mining and infrastructure. According to government estimates, this costs the country up to 2-3 percent of GDP annually.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Centre-Right party (BJP) was recently elected on a promise of reviving the struggling economy and vowing to take these threats to industrial development and infrastructure projects seriously.

The top leaders of the outgoing, left-leaning Congress Party, that ruled India for over five decade since 1947, came to the defense of Greenpeace, but considering the Congress Party’s reduced ‘footprint’ policies, it is not going to soften the government’s stand.

India would certainly do well to further embrace market-capitalist values so as to make up for the lost decades under socialist mismanagement.

After a promising phase of de-regulation and economic liberalization in the early 1990s, India’s economic growth story came to a virtual standstill in the last decade. Modi got elected by making market-friendly promises like smaller government, de-regulation, and tax-cuts. Now he has his work cut out.

The Indian government might not be challenging the ‘science’ behind climate change and environmental activism, but it is certainly challenging its economic viability.

Unlike President Obama, I do not have the audacity to call anything “settled science”. I would still dare to point out that scientific theory, even climate change -- by definition -- is not a settled issue at all, but one that should be subject to rigorous and constant inquiry.

President Obama may (or may not) be right in his assumption that “97%” of scientists agree with his take on Climate Change -- compared to just “3%” against it. But does he not know that majorities do not win by default in science or that Kings and Presidents do not get to pass judgement in matters of science any more?

The only correct way to ‘settle the science’ on climate change would be by debunking the claims of the opposing 3%. This the "consensus" cannot do. 

Instead, they seem more in tune with the Marxist doctrine of ‘settled science’ from Soviet Russia -- purge academia of dissenters and then declare that only a madman would disagree with you.

While acknowledging the right of the Indian people to clean air and drinking water, the West must respect India’s national sovereignty and understand India’s refusal to stop coal-fired power plants or mining for resources merely on the basis of the so called ‘settled science’ of climate change.

The likes of Greenpeace must not be allowed to strong-arm India.

Vijeta Uniyal is an Indian-born writer and analyst living in Germany

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