The years since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed in 1992 have been marked by rising concern about the climate problem, given that emissions have continued to rise and atmospheric concentrations have continued to build up to a level where the likelihood of avoiding dangerous climate change – a key objective of the UNFCCC – is diminishing. In fact, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels recently crossed the 400 ppm mark for the first time in human history.
At the same time, the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2012 (UNEP 2012) has highlighted the large gap between the national mitigation pledges in the Copenhagen Accord and the level of reductions that are required for a ‘likely’ chance of staying below the 2°C target; according to other analysts, these combined mitigation pledges – ‘[are] consistent with a global temperature rise of greater than 2°C – and possibly as much as 5°C’ (Kartha and Erickson 2011).
Within this paper, we specifically take an actor-centred perspective – focusing on players not just within the government but also private sector and civil society – to better understand the influence of such actors in shaping climate change action within India. Through this analysis, we aim to explore the underlying domestic political economy as well as the international linkages shaping climate action.