Rising up without burning down

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When we talk about the globalization of our economy and then start boasting of our redundant growth in spite of the financial turmoil entrapping the world, there is a cabal of skewed eyes to our opinions. These are the people who call themselves environmental fighters. This gives us a society divided into two factions:

The optimists of globalization who embrace free trade, free markets, liberalization and privatization,

Anchor to the impressive growth rates of GDP, total trade, foreign direct investment and institutional

Investments and foreign reserve reflect optimum. At the other extreme are the pessimist who detest

Multinational and globalization and believe free trade favors developed nations and will lead to

Western cultural and economic invasion, slowly tearing apart the cultural fabric and national identity.

They refer to visible poverty, farmer suicides, abysmal infrastructure and low spending on health care

And education to discount progress. Rural India remains impoverished and urban India finds itself

Polluted, chaotic and deteriorating. In this context this paper analyses the impact of globalization on

The environment of Indian economy.

 

In the Indian context globalization plays a gargantuan role, because of the economic slowdown in the western world, most of the MNCs are looking towards India. The huge jump in the automobile sector is a clear indication of that. It is supporting our economy to keep up the GDP growth rate afloat. The automobile sector is just the tip of the iceberg because of cheap labor, lack of judicial accountability, proper environmental protection laws and easy availability of land among others any company gets a fillip to invest in the Indian market, be it through institutional investors on direct investors. So in lieu of the facts any one can say that our growth story looks robust and even though the western crises may continue but the domestic demands will prevent out growth rate from nose diving.

 

 

GDP growth as a percentage of previous year

 

 

But now look at the other picture, in a energy deficient country like ours, for the industry to grow at this pace we will need brobdingnagian proportions of energy. Where will that energy come from? Nuclear!!! With the accountability laws available, I don’t think so. Oil!!! Seems unlikely we can hardly manage oil the oil for our transport sector. The only option left for us now is coal. That means we are going to invest heavily in the mining industry, subsequently burning it in the power plant to get the energy. Seems fair enough. STOP ! . there are 2 fundamental flaws with this line of thinking until recently no one cared much about the mining licenses but after the 2-G scam now the allocation of coal blocks through competitive bidding. The greater setback is in the environmental field where now GO and NO-GO areas have been defined. Though the ministry of mines is still pushing for clearances but the environment ministry under the leadership of shri. Jai Ram Ramesh was reluctant for it. Even though it is evidently clear that outrageous mining has disastrous impact on the environment still we want to go for it, the big question is WHY?

 

Here is the crux of all this argument, somehow a faction of people think that economic growth is much more important, even at the cost of environment. These people are the ones at the top of the food chain. It is said that in the fight between money and environment, money always wins. Some of us immediately pop up the question money or air is necessary for our survival? A wise economist will answer “I will pack clean air in packets and then sell them to earn profits.” The triumph of money over environment was recently re-established in the US when because of the slowdown the prices of solar cells fell drastically and thus making them economically viable but still the federal government couldn’t invest in them. Why?? Because the fossil fuel junkie companies having being invested a lot in the politics couldn’t see It happen. The other aspect is that every nation is supposed to cut their emissions, with this strategy I don’t see it happen. The main point that emerges at this point is the most important thing is to have a lot of money and if you have money you can even have considerable influence over the words strongest democracies. Some of you might disagree but the wars in Middle East?? Did it bring anything to your recollection?? Where are the weapons of mass destruction’s??

Who is to blame for this sorry state of environment? Most of us in the developing world will point fingers towards the developed world. This to a certain extent is correct they have burned a lot of fossil fuels. So should we blame the entire massacre of environment on them?? It may be interesting to see things from the other perspective, we in the developing world have a huge population, 36% of the world’s population lives in India and China so our per capita emissions will definitely be low, on the other hand with developed world with a lesser population is bound to have higher per capita emissions. Is this the correct logic? Well the debate is still on. That’s the basic reason the US is always neglecting any legal binding agreement. So does this mean Indian government should stop its industrialization let its people be poor and thus let millions die of starvation?? I don’t agree with that. I don’t know still why Indian government is so willingly taking on the cuts. Who am I to judge? How fare is that the rich countries can buy carbon credits of the poor countries and then they don’t have to go for any cuts all they have to do is practically pay some amount for it. Well I am not a judge but a noble prize was given just for this concept. Doesn’t it look like a western controversy?? Here is another fact when rich guys want to pay with the poor all they do is give useless incentives to the other nations. Assume an American policy maker say “ok these are the developing countries they are shouting foul about my emissions why don’t I make a comment and make a the chairman from these countries so that he will definitely work hard for getting commitments from his country”. I am not judging anyone all I am saying is it is a possibility at least the data shows it.

CONCLUSION: Globalization in India has not led to a uniform consensus on ways of achieving

Sustainable development methods. Globalization measures are only end of the pipeline clean ups and there is no more to have a quantum shift towards green, sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of production and to phase out the environmentally destructive mod of development. Globalization could have been the key element in the introduction of sustainable practices everywhere but short term and vested interests of powerful TNCs and industrial countries have made certain that there is no digression to a sustainable path: which would affect their own profits. Since sustainable technology and commodities are not available in all sectors and need to be evolved both economic and environmental policies should unite to encourage the growth of and research in alternative methods of production and consumption that are environmentally safe. If the same amount of subsides, incentives, coercion research as well as free trade that is directed at present to unsustainable development, is instead directed to green industries and products, then there is hope that the environmentally destructive path of the present globalization regime will be averted and sustainable development will become a reality. The tragic result of globalization in India is increase of human misery and ecological degradation.

 

 

Note: This article has been published earlier on 9th Feb 2012 at (http://ismdiaries.com/archives/22) and republished from the permission of the author as an entry for article writing competition event 2012.

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