EVERY so often a country comes along whose economic transformation has a vast impact on the world’s climate system. For the past generation that country has been China. Next it will be India.
Given India’s size and population (1.3 billion), its emissions of carbon dioxide are in relative terms still tiny. At 1.6 tonnes of carbon per person each year, they are roughly the same as China’s per-head emissions in 1980, when that country dived into economic reforms. Now India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, wants to emulate China’s sizzling growth. He has set India a target of expanding GDP by 8% a year. If it comes close to meeting that target, emissions will soar, just as China’s have done. Today, Chinese emissions per head are four times those in India.