The New York Times and the UK's Guardian reported on Tuesday that China and India have joined the Copenhagen Accord, a non-binding statement released in December at the end of the Copenhagen climate conference. The Times notes that "the inclusion of China and India in the accord has only a minor practical effect but will provide a boost for the agreement’s credibility", while the Guardian declares that "the action falls short of full 'association' and highlights the gulf between the United States – the strongest backer of the accord – and the other key nations on how to deliver a global deal to combat climate change."
So there you have it: even good news may not really be good news, except when the Times says so.
Seriously though, this is certainly a step in the right direction. And there is some good news in the making in India, and - coincidentally? - CGD is at the center of the action.
Mere hours before the suspiciously timed articles in the Times and Guardian went online, CGD senior fellow David Wheeler and co-author Saurabh Shome released "Less Smoke, More Mirrors: Where India Really Stands on Solar Power and Other Renewables". In their analysis of a national renewable energy standard under development in India, they note that
India is giving serious consideration to adoption of a 15% RES for its own reasons, despite the absence of any meaningful international pressure to cut emissions, no guarantees of compensatory financing, and a continuing American failure to adopt stringent emissions limits. If India moves ahead with this plan, it will promote a massive shift of new power capacity toward renewables within a decade.
We hope that members of Congress will note that the United States' excuse for inaction is melting away as quickly as its opportunity to lead the green energy revolution (thanks China!). As David and Saurabh conclude, "If India moves ahead with its current plan, it should give serious pause to those who have resisted US carbon regulation on the grounds that it will confer a cost advantage on 'intransigent' countries like India."