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An Egalitarian Green Growth Program for India

In the spirit of Prof. Utsa Patnaik’s 40 years of research work to date, this paper explores the interrelationships between economic growth, expanding employment opportunities and the imperative of dramatically reducing CO2 emissions as these issues play out in the case of India. Specifically, we ask: is it possible, within a framework of economic growth, to develop a unified program that can both increase well-being for workers, peasants and the poor through expanding employment opportunities while contributing significantly toward the global project of climate stabilization? Our findings show that advancing such a unified agenda is a realistic possibility within India. We assume that the Indian economy grows at an average annual rate of 6.0 percent over a 20-year period. Within this 20-year growth trend, we propose that India increases its total of public and private investments in energy efficiency and clean renewable energy sources by 1.5 percent of GDP above its current trend rate. Working from this starting point, we find that India can achieve dramatic CO2 emissions reductions while also generating major gains in employment opportunities through undertaking these clean energy investments, as opposed to maintaining the economy’s existing fossil-fuel based energy infrastructure. Moreover, India could accomplish these goals while also eliminating entirely its reliance on nuclear power.

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