In the end, the Copenhagen COP summit failed to agree on a new climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The Copenhagen Agreement, which was saved by the summit, launched the process of reversing the climate governance architecture with a differentiated bottom-up approach, with commitment and revision (Hurrell – Sengupta 2012). This paper analyzes India`s participation in more than two decades of global climate policy. India has moved from a voice of protest on the margins of global climate policy to a voice that actively participates in international efforts to combat climate change. So far, the analysis of the motivations behind India`s positions on climate change has focused on competing motivations for justice and co-benefits, but this has not been enough to explain some of India`s recent actions in global climate policy. There is a gap in the literature in the analysis of India`s climate policy, which is in its broader foreign policy agenda and objectives. This paper examines the evolution of India`s climate policy from the perspective of its broader foreign policy strategy and argues that India`s commitment to international climate policy can be better understood by viewing its climate policy as part of its foreign policy agenda. Changes in India`s negotiating position on climate change over the past decade have been only part of its overall foreign policy adaptations to greater accountability in the management of global commons. In the future, the pursuit of India`s foreign policy objectives will provide decisive guidance on India`s role in the global fight against climate change. The first World Environmental Conference was held in Stockholm in 1972 and launched a series of negotiations and discussions on international environmental agreements. Twenty years later, at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, countries came together to agree on the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The summit also led to the creation of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. These agreements form the basis of current international environmental cooperation. The Montreal Protocol came into force in 1989, which resulted in a gradual degradation of ozone-depleting substances. Climate Action Tracker, 2017. India. Available at: climateactiontracker.org/countries/india.html [Access September 25, 2017]. India will ratify the Paris climate agreement on 2 October on Mahatma Gandhi`s birthday. In this regard, the main effects of india`s accession remain a globally poor country, with one third of its population below the poverty line. In 2015, India`s GDP per capita was about $1,600 per year, compared to $56,000 in the United States (World Bank in 2016). Even China, with $8,000, is currently irrelevant to India (World Bank 2016). In addition, India`s per capita emissions are low, about one-third of the global average, and India`s average electricity consumption per capita is about a quarter of the global average and was only 10% of the global average in 2014 (World Resources Institute 2014); World Bank 2015). The difference in capacity to combat climate change due to differences in material wealth between developed and developing countries was also noted in the UNFCCC in 1992 by the term Respective Capabilities (RC) in Article 3 (UNFCCC 1992).
The intellectual sponsorship of India`s climate policy throughout its foreign policy is therefore mainly due to the fact that the limited capacity of the climate negotiations has led the MEA, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to play a decisive role in India`s climate negotiation team.