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Forests have been all over the news recently as the Brazilian Amazon burns and the world reacts. One of the most consequential decisions for India’s forests will be made soon in a surprising place—the country’s 15th Finance Commission.
The Obama Administration has left an indelible impact on domestic energy policy and global climate policy. Policies driving technological innovation—in what critics have dubbed the “war on coal”—are helping the United States transition its energy system to one that is cleaner and more efficient. While the administration touts the growth of clean energy deployment in the United States at international fora, it should not limit its engagement with foreign countries on fossil energy—especially when the climate gains could be large.
India just did something big for the climate: it announced that it will allocate $6 billion a year in tax revenue in a way that will encourage forest conservation. That’s more results-based finance for forest conservation than any other country in the world, including the current biggest spender Norway.
President Obama is widely expected to approve this year the construction of a massive new oil pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries along the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting boost in the emissions of heat-trapping gases has been called the world’s biggest carbon bomb. India would be among its primary victims.