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Can Asia Change the Climate?

Risks, Responses and Leadership for Climate Action

Arunabha Ghosh
July 2017 | International Cooperation

Suggested Citation: Arunabha Ghosh. 2017. "Can Asia Change the Climate?: Risks, Responses and Leadership for Climate Action." Changing Asia Series Lecture at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. 


Arunabha Ghosh delivered a public lecture 'Can Asia Change the Climate?: Risks, Responses and Leadership for Climate Action' hosted by the Society for Policy Studies in association with the India Habitat Centre, as part of the 'Changing Asia Series' on 25 July 2017 in New Delhi.

In his lecture, Dr Ghosh argued, "Asia’s role should be to persevere for a different kind of climate politics, a reformulated climate economics, and an inclusive climate ethics. We need to resist false pretensions of grandeur about climate leadership. It is a collective burden we carry. Asia is poised for climate leadership. Except it is not the bravado of leadership that must titillate us; rather it is the quiet self-confidence that comes from knowing – and shaping – the future.”

The lecture premised on six propositions: climate risks for Asia are real and now; climate responses in Asia are aggressive but inadequate; climate leadership is diffuse and misunderstood; climate politics needs a reimagining of institutions; climate economics needs to defeat persisting mercantilism; and climate ethics needs more voices in ungoverned terrains.

New voices and issues are required in climate ethics, from explaining energy transitions, to governing geoengineering, to calling for a more open, inclusive and transparent climate regime.

Further, Arunabha defined three different Asias when it comes to climate politics:

  • China, which stands apart in terms of its economic size and share of emissions.
  • India along with several other South and South East Asian economies which are rapidly growing and still have hundreds of millions in poverty.
  • The Central and West Asian economies with limited diversification in their economic structure and limited capabilities to develop the industries of the future.

Arunabha Ghosh at the ‘Can Asia Change the Climate?: Risks, Responses and Leadership for Climate Action', Changing Asia Series Lecture at India Habitat Centre (Source: CEEW)

Climate leadership is a misunderstood concept; indeed, it is a constructed ideal, when the passing of one leader allows for the crown to be immediately placed on another’s head.

Read the complete lecture here.An excerpt of the lecture was published in The Times of India.

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