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Modi & Trump

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Mr Modi and Mr Trump will meet over the next couple of days and cement a growing relationship between
 

The Unearth Bulletin

February 27 · Issue #81 · View online
Towards a Sustainable & Inclusive World

Mr Modi and Mr Trump will meet over the next couple of days and cement a growing relationship between India and the US. Unfortunately, their meeting does not have any bearing on the ongoing environmental problem, but it should have. The US is the world’s largest polluter and India will become one eventually. The US has been a key contributor to the mess and India will suffer quite a bit from it, if not the most. One is a villain now, the other will eventually become that. But given the US has higher incomes, economic costs of climate change will be more in the US than in India. One will suffer more in human terms, other more in economic terms. One country spends more on R&D than any other, the other produces more scientists and engineers than any other.  
This is a classic set of underlying parameters that could encourage both of the countries to come with a mutually win-win bilateral on the environment.
But that will not happen. Both Mr Trump and Mr Modi don’t trust experts and prefer their own instincts. Since their instincts have served them well, the hope is that it will do us good too.
For the time being, neither climate change nor pollution have fazed or disturbed either leader, and the instinct driving the two or perhaps all of global politics is immediate economic gains. Whether it is Coronavirus in China or locusts in Pakistan or the bush fire in Australia, nature is impacting the economy in many different and deep ways. The greatest challenge now cannot be dealt with by military weapons that India will promise to buy, or counter-terrorism intelligence that the US would provide.  
The visit will be labelled as a grand success no doubt. But all that success will be a mirage and that too a temporary one. 
 Sometime in the future, an American President and an Indian Prime Minister will meet again, and this time the environment will be the key topic of discussion. When that happens, they will change the future of their two countries and that of humanity.
-Laveesh Bhandari

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