SFC Perspectives on Adaptation and Resilience, Climate Policy, Energy Transitions, and Environmental Governance and Policy


SFC Perspectives are intended to stimulate discussion by providing an overview of key issues and avenues for action to inform India’s sustainable development trajectory.

Read our Perspectives on:

1. Adaptation and Resilience: Building systems that allow India to adapt to climate impacts (by Aditya Valiathan Pillai and Tamanna Dalal)
2. Perspectives on Climate Policy: Embedding a development-centric, climate-ready approach to policymaking (by Aman Srivastava, Easwaran J Narassimhan and Navroz K Dubash)
3. Enabling the Energy Transition: Technology, politics & institutions in India’s energy system (by Ashwini K Swain, Sarada Prasanna Das, Suravee Nayak, Catherine Ayallore and Navroz K Dubash)
4. Perspectives on Environmental Governance and Policy: Systemic transformations to limit the health burden of air pollution (by Bhargav Krishna, Shibani Ghosh, Arunesh Karkun and Annanya Mahajan)

Perspectives on Climate Policy: Embedding a development-centric, climate-ready approach to policymaking


India is a rapidly growing country pursuing a range of challenging development objectives. Its continued growth and development – particularly in the face of a changing climate – will likely involve large structural shifts in its patterns of growth, urbanisation, and employment. Against the backdrop of this uncertain future pathway, India has also committed to decarbonising its economy over a multi-decadal timescale. To this end, it has instituted multiple targets and policies in relevant sectors, layering in further measures over time in response to evolving conditions. This approach has enabled the country to partially decouple its growth from emissions and grow its renewable electricity generation capacity over the last decade.

Like most countries, India has hitherto taken an opportunity-siezing approach to climate mitigation,green growth, and green industrialisation. But realising greater climate and development benefits requires coalescing these efforts into a strategic approach to low-carbon development that also builds climate resilience. Doing so can present significant opportunities to synergistically achieve these environmental and developmental benefits – navigating shifts in global economic conditions and the ongoing energy transition. Because the strategy-setting, coordination, and consensus building requirements of such a transition are large, such a strategy requires a capable state with a development-centric, climate-ready approach to policymaking. Such a policymaking approach requires 1) modelling capacities to estimate low-carbon pathways and their development implications; 2) institutions capable of coordinating and mainstreaming climate considerations to achieve greater coherence; 3) bureaucracies that work with industry to devise green industrial policy strategies; and 4) the ability to nudge and harness a financing ecosystem to steer investments towards low-carbon development (See Figure 1). A development-centric climate-ready approach to policymaking also requires revisiting the relative roles of the state and markets in steering the country’s low-carbon pathway and addressing problems of the global commons. The identification and appropriateness of these choices for the Indian context merits further study.

The Climate Policy group within SFC approaches policy challenges through a strategic lens, aiming for long-term structural change by shifting discourse, building stronger institutions, and aligning conditions for implementation.

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Strategies for green industrial and innovation policy–an analysis of policy alignment, misalignment, and realignment around dominant designs in the EV sector


Governments in industrialized as well as emerging economies are racing to implement policies to accelerate clean energy innovation and capture the economic benefits of decarbonization. This paper explores which combination of technology-push and demand-pull policies best situates a country to lead in clean energy innovation, as new or dominant designs emerge and replace older technologies. A new analytical framework for green industrial policy is introduced regarding the alignment, misalignment, and deliberate misalignment of policies. This framework is applied to battery electric vehicle drivetrain technology to examine the use of policy alignment and misalignment by countries with big automakers as they pursue strategic green industrial policy. We find that countries that achieved early and sustained (not inconsistent) policy alignment gained a first-mover advantage compared with countries that deliberately or accidentally misaligned their policies. We also find that first-mover advantage can be lost due to deliberate misalignment of policies caused by an inability of governments to effectively incentivize their firms to develop and deploy cleaner and more efficient technologies. In situations where governments adopt misaligned or conflicting policies, incumbent industries tend to pursue their prior comparative advantage and maximize return from investments in prior technologies. We also find that deliberate misalignment of policies can be an effective catching-up strategy.

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