Fwd: INDIA: Climate deniers move into town - and Montek does a Mbeki

Skip to first unread message

Manu Sharma

Apr 5, 2008, 6:16:53 AM4/5/08
to green...@googlegroups.com, Malini Mehra
Dear members,

Centre for Social Markets (CSM) headed by Ms Malini Mehra, which last month served as adviser to Al Gore's climate project in India, has actively come forward in support of the protest against Climate Change misinformation campaign in the media.

CSM has been independently following the events of climate deniers that are attempting to gain foothold in India now that they are losing ground in the West. Together, we will prevent this distortion of debate for action against climate change.

I'm forwarding below press release issued by CSM about release of CSCCC report by planning commission chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Manu Sharma



New Delhi: 4th April 2008

This week saw the climate deniers move into town. At an event hosted on 2nd April by the Delhi-based Liberty Institute, and the London-based Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change, CSM was witness to the launch of the "Civil Society Report on Climate Change". The Coalition was formed in February 2007 by the International Policy Network (IPN), a well-known ExxonMobil-backed organization based in London.

The event featured a range of neo-liberal grandees with associations with free-market think tanks such as the US-based Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, known for their rubbishing of climate science and the international consensus represented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Civil Society Report on Climate Change itself was released astoundingly enough by Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of India's Planning Commission and one of the country's leading political lights. Allegedly produced by 40-plus civil society organisations from around the world, the stated aim of the report is to "educate the public about the science and economics of climate change." It concludes that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is not a cost-effective way to address climate change. Rather, it argues that policies must promote economic growth and empower the poor so that they are able to solve today's problems and adapt to tomorrows.

The report criticizes the "pressure" being created by the rich countries on India, China and other poor countries to sign up to binding emission reduction targets. According to Barun Mitra, director of the Liberty Institute, such emission restrictions would hold back economic development in India, China and other poor countries, thereby preventing them from solving the problems they face today.

Some of the key conclusions of the report can be summed up as follows:

  • Cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the coming two decades is not a cost-effective way to address climate change.There is no evidence that climate change has caused an increase in disease. If the main causes of diseases such as diarrhoea and malaria are properly addressed, climate change will not increase their incidence.
  • Agricultural production has outpaced population growth in the past 50 years. With continued technological improvements, this trend will continue to 2100, even if the global mean temperature rises by 3*C.
  • Water scarcity is a problem in many countries, but with better management and modern technologies, more water can be made available to all.
  • Global restrictions on greenhouse gases would undermine the capacity of people in poor countries to address the problems they face today as well as in the future by retarding economic growth and general economic development.
  • Instead of pushing emissions restrictions and failed aid policies, governments should focus on reducing barriers to economic growth and adaption, e.g. removing trade barriers and decentralising management of water and land.

Speaker after speaker, including Prof Deepak Lal of the University of California in Los Angeles; Prof Julian Morris of the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change in London; Dr Amit Mitra of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of India (FICCI); Dr Madhav Khandekar of Environment Canada; and Prof. Mao Shoulong of Renmin University in Beijing, denounced as biased and alarmist claims about human-induced climate change, which, they claimed, were being used to justify calls for intervention and regulation.

During his release of the free-market Coalition's report, Dr Ahluwalia noted that he had also released the United Nation's Human Development Report on climate change in 2007 but was highly critical of it. He rejected many of the UN report's recommendations on the grounds that it was not fair to impose restrictions on developing economies, and that one could adapt more easily if economic development took place. He pointed out that from a developing country perspective, since there was "uncertainty in doomsday scenarios", one needed to ask who should be the first to take action. For him, the key issue was about a fair distribution of emission controls, which should be anchored in a per capita emissions approach. He added that he is a member of the drafting committee of the government's Action Plan on Climate Change, to be released in June 2008, which will deal with the issue of adaptation.

Former environment minister Suresh Prabhu was also supposed to attend but could not make it.

In a reaction to the event and Dr Ahluwalia's role in it, CSM Chief Executive, Malini Mehra said:

"At a time when India is seeing a surge of domestic concern about the implications of climate change for us – and our politicians and business people are finally beginning to react – it is disappointing to see Dr Ahluwalia backing such biased and discredited views. The international consensus on climate change is clear. The Prime Minister himself has clearly stated: 'The threat of climate change is real and unless we alter our lifestyles and pursue a sustainable model of development, our future will be at peril' (G-8, Heiligendamm 2007) Dr Ahluwalia's questionable role in promoting the views of climate skeptics such as this Coalition puts him in the same category as South Africa's President Mbeki on HIV/AIDS.

For those of us Indians who are keen to promote a responsible and pro-active agenda on climate change – in our own national interest – his words have come as a blow. He would do well to remember that India already has obligations under the Bali conclusions to undertake 'Nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing country Parties in the context of sustainable development; supported by technology and enabled by financing and capacity building, that are measurable, reportable and verifiable.' Many of us expect more of our government and will be watching this space to ensure that we see greater leadership in the long-promised, and much delayed, National Climate Change Action Plan in June."

 ++ END ++


1. The Centre for Social Markets (CSM) is an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to making markets work for the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit. Founded in 2000 by Indian social entrepreneur, Malini Mehra, we are a values based organisation committed to sustainable development and human rights. Full details: www.csmworld.org

2. In 2007, CSM launched 'Climate Challenge India' an independent, non-partisan, non-political educational effort designed to spread awareness and generate positive energy on climate issues in India.The first effort of its type in the country, Climate Challenge India, seeks to build a new climate of hope and opportunity on climate change as the global community begins to face up to the enormity of the challenge. In December 2007 it was recognised as one of the world's top five climate campaigns and profiled at Bali. Full details: www.climatechallengeindia.org

3. Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change:  According to its website - http://www.csccc.info/ - the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change seeks to "educate the public about the science and economics of climate change in an impartial manner. It was established as a response to the many biased and alarmist claims about human-induced climate change, which are being used to justify calls for intervention and regulation.

The Coalition comprises over forty independent civil society organisations who share a commitment to improving public understanding about a range of public policy issues. All are non-profit organizations that are independent of political parties and government."

4. International Policy Network: According to the website, ExxonSecrets -  http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=108  the International Policy Network (IPN) maintains a network of free-market think tanks around the world and supports the development of new organizations. Roger Bate and Julian Morris, IPN's directors, both work for the Institute for Economic Affairs in London. Bate is also a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), where another IPN staff member, Kendra Okonski used to work. Disinfopedia reports that in 2003 the address and phone number for CEI and the US office of the IPN were identical.

For further information, or to arrange interviews, please call:

Ms Farah Abdullah, Programme Manager, CSM
Email: in...@csmworld.org or Mobile: +91 (98374) 49714

(Ms) Sumana Das

Administrative Officer, Centre for Social Markets
For News& Information: www.csmworld.org

For more on CSM's award-winning 'Climate Challenge India' campaign please see: www.climatechallengeindia.org


Kolkata: Centre for Social Markets, 39 Hindusthan Park, Kolkata 700 029, India. Tel: +91-33-2465 5898/ 2465 5711/2/3 Fax: +91-33-2465 5650
Delhi: Centre for Social Markets, 3/5 Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi - 110 055, India


Centre for Social Markets, 1 Trafalgar Avenue, London SE15 6NP, United Kingdom. Tel/Fax: +44-7866-600607

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages