The Guardian reports that Sir Nicholas Stern is to advise the Indian Government on climate change:

Despite Sir Nicholas’s longstanding interest in India – he lived in a village in the north of the country for the best part of a year for his early research – many question whether action on climate change in India is politically possible.

“(His) economic warnings are unlikely to find many takers in the harsh political reality of India today,” wrote Barun Mitra of the Delhi-based thinktank Liberty Institute recently in the Hindustan Times.

“About half of Indian homes today don’t have any electricity, and many who do have the connections, don’t enjoy the benefits. It will be politically suicidal for any Indian leader to promote the virtues of low energy consumption to the Indian masses.”

India unlike developed countries has low per-capita emissions however, that does not mean the future will be the same. With rapid economic development and increased use of cars, electronic appliances, rise of low cost airlines, and the increasing population, India will be a major greenhouse gas producer.

Low energy consumption is not connected to consumers only. Products and industrial systems can be designed in a way in which they use less resources and can be recycled efficiently at the end.

India has an opportunity to leap-frog the developed nations in this area.