Students, senior researchers and faculty from all disciplines – physical sciences, social sciences, humanities – are invited to participate in the Climate Change and India reading group, and provide insights into multiple aspects of climate change debates specific to the Indian context.

The Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, in partnership with School of Geography and the Environment, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and the Oxford Martin School, has initiated this interdisciplinary reading group to generate knowledge and build interest on the subject. This reading group is an opportunity to generate discussion around the complexities of environmental challenges in the Global South. It could also potentially lead to collaborative research between  participants in the future.

Topics in focus

The Indian subcontinent is in the midst of a large-scale transition to low carbon futures to meet climate targets set during the Paris Agreement of 2015. But achieving these targets requires more than just technological transformations. Climate action in India is also having to contend with the nation’s carbon-intensive development strategies to tackle poverty and unemployment.  Energy transitions are intricately bound up with overlapping issues of energy access, food and water security, housing and sanitation, among others. Closing the gap between ambition and what can be achieved involves considering social, political, technological and ecological challenges posed by climate change in both cities and vast rural stretches of the country.

Some questions that this reading group could seek to uncover are: How can climate action be incorporated into rural and urban planning – thereby achieving both climate targets and development goals? What kinds of governance structures and institutional capacity is needed to tackle problems of climate-induced migration and urban informality? How can we devise socio-technical solutions that address class, caste and gender inequalities exacerbated by climate change? What is the role of social movements grassroots activism in bringing about environmental justice?


Scholars from across disciplines are invited to participate in the reading group, held thrice every term. Each member is expected to suggest a reading, which will be shared ahead of the meeting. The meeting will be a discussion of the reading, led by the person who suggested it (5-10 min), followed by a group discussion for 50 minutes. Each session will be 1-1.5 hours, with the half hour extra in case additional conversation is needed. The members will be required to commit to attending 80% of the sessions in order to be a part of the group.


We have hosted four reading group sessions till date at the Oxford Martin School, with three more planned for Trinity term 2020.

November 27, 2019

Dr Radhika Khosla led the first session, giving an overview of India’s climate policies and politics over time.

Dubash, Navroz K., Radhika Khosla, Ulka Kelkar, Sharachchandra Lele. 2018. “India and Climate Change: Evolving Ideas and Increasing Policy Engagement.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources (43): 395-424.

January 29, 2020

Dr Anupama Sen of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies discussed the political economy of electricity in India.

Sunila S. Kale, Navroz K. Dubash and Ranjit Bharvirkar (2018) “A Framework for Mapping Power” in Sunila S. Kale, Navroz K. Dubash and Ranjit Bharvirkar (Eds.) Mapping Power: The Political Economy of  Electricity in India’s States, OUP.

February 19, 2020

Sugandha Srivastava, DPhil candidate in Environmental Economics at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, led a discussion on the political economy of coal mining.

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt (2017) Resources and the Politics of Sovereignty: The Moral and Immoral Economies of Coal Mining in India, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.

March 4, 2020

Emeritus professor of development studies Barbara Harriss-White presented on the low carbon transition in agriculture.

Harriss-White, B., Gathorne-Hardy, A., & Rodrigo, G. (2019). Towards Lower-Carbon Indian Agricultural Development: An Experiment in Multi-criteria Mapping. Review of Development and Change24(1), 5–30.

May 6, 2020

Steve Puttick, Associate Professor at the Department of Education, discussed the role of education in sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

Sarabhai, KVyas, PThe leapfrogging opportunity: The role of education in sustainable development and climate change mitigationEur J Educ201752427– 436.