Clash of economy and ecology in global politics

Synopsis: We cannot ensure sustainable growth unless it is affordable and inclusive


Thirty years ago, India ushered in economic reforms. As the growth intensified, the use of natural resources too increased, and it added to the pollution of our waterbodies and air.

In the next two decades, India witnessed much more toxification of our land, water, air, and food, and realised how it impacts our health.

It is for this reason there have been repeated conflicts over the need to balance development with the environment. However, the resolution is often flawed because public institutions that are required to make decisions have been progressively weakened and disabled.

How India needs to reinvent its growth story?

It has to be based on the needs of all and not just a few. It has to protect the environment because that is the survival base on which life thrives.

For instance, Investment in natural capital, trees and water, will help build the resilience we need in the climate-risked world.

How U.S. – China rivalry will hamper the agenda of reducing greenhouse gas emission?

Since the extraordinary rise of China, it has overtaken just about all countries in global trade. It relied on cheap labour, cheap credit, and no restrictions on account of environmental or social safeguards. Today, the western economies are adapting the Chinese Growth strategy model to compete with China.

For instance, the proponents of free trade and globalisation are turning towards protectionism.

This struggle for global domination, which pits China against the US, will have ramifications for environmental security and climate change in India and the rest of the world.

Today, the countries that aspire to become new world leaders aim to increase its economic standing in the world through manufacturing, trade, and global commerce. This means there will be more pollution and more greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: This post is based on the article “Clash of economy and ecology in global politics” published in Business Standard on 4th Oct 2021.

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