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Climate Change: A Fast-Growing India Has The World's Fate In Its Hands

Once upon the time, India looked upon international climate meetings with something akin to distaste.

India is taking the initiative, fueled by the growing self-confidence of a country that's the world's most populous and seeing the fastest economic growth this year among the Group of 20 major economies.

India has made green development, climate finance and sustainable lifestyles its number one priority in its G20 presidency this year, and has reportedly weighed joining the Climate Club proposed by Germany's G7 presidency last year as a way to reduce industrial pollution.

"India must become one of the first countries in the world to industrialize without carbonizing the world," Amitabh Kant, who's coordinating the country's G20 policy, said in a speech this week in Delhi. India itself would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of a change in development banks' lending policies.

Becoming a key member of the Climate Club, fueled by cheap World Bank finance for decarbonization, would put India in an emerging quasi-trade bloc alongside the rich world. India hasn't even made up its own mind on the path it's going to take.

India's emissions likely overtook those of the European Union last year to be the largest in the world after China and the US. Within five years, it should have the third-largest national economy, too. With the world's fate increasingly in its hands, India can no longer afford to stand aloof from climate debates.

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