Wednesday, December 01, 2010

stanford: December 2, 4-6 pm: Visiting Scholar from India - Sharachchandra Lele

dec 1, 2010

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From: Tatiana Deogirikar <>
Date: 2010/12/1
Subject: December 2, 4-6 pm: Visiting Scholar from India - Sharachchandra Lele
To: Center for South Asia <>, CSA Students List <>, CSA Faculty List <>

December 2, 4-6 pm
Philippines Room, Encina Hall, 3rd fl.

Title: Climate Change and Development: The Challenge for Indian Environmentalists and a Green-Red Response

Sharachchandra Lele,
Senior Fellow, Centre for Environment & Development
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)


Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Fellow
Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University

Abstract: Climate change is not only the biggest global-scale environmental challenge faced by humanity, but also the most difficult and divisive issue in North-South politics. Indian environmentalists, led by Anil Agarwal, were the first to point out the deeply political nature of the problem, and the need to consider questions of historical and current responsibility, of rightful sharing of the global atmospheric commons, and of the risks of launching trading mechanisms without an agreement on sharing. This perspective is a piece of the larger contribution of Indian environmentalism to global environmental thought, viz., the "environmentalism of the poor" and the focus on environmental and social justice. The Indian government adopted this position in international negotiations and championed the cause of the South in Kyoto. Since then, the signs of climate change have increased, its potential impacts have come closer and appear more devastating, and therefore the need for action more urgent. At the same time, India's rapid economic growth over the past two decades has led to burgeoning emissions, major infrastructural projects, and increasing geo-political ambitions. And the possibility of large fund flows in the form of carbon trading and REDD+ is being dangled in front of Southern nations. These phenomena have put pressure on Indian environmentalists to re-engage with climate change. Reviewing this set of developments, I shall indicate how progressive elements have sought to navigate between dis-engagement and co-optation. Their approach of continuing to place climate change in the larger context of sustainable and equitable development, and of integrating past learning with the complications introduced by climate change in different sectors, has lessons for environmentalists globally.

Brief bio: Sharachchandra Lele is a Senior Fellow and Convenor of the Centre for Environment and Development at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & the Environment (ATREE), an applied research institute in Bangalore, India. Sharad's research interests include conceptual issues in sustainable development and sustainability, and interdisciplinary analyses of institutional, economic, ecological, and technological issues in forest, energy, and water resource management. His primary areas of empirical work are forestry, forest hydrological services, watershed management and integrated rural development. More recently, he has been following the politics of India's climate change policies, and broader issues of environmental governance.

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