Overcoming barriers to climate smart agriculture in India
International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management , Volume 12 - Issue 1 p. 108- 127
Purpose – This paper aims to report on a case in which encouraging climate-smart agriculture in the form of better irrigation techniques in India can contribute to both climate change mitigation and adaptation goals by improving resource-use efficiency. It provides grounded institutional analysis on how these transformations can occur. Design/methodology/approach – The authors based their research on three complementary approaches: institutional, sociological and technical. The institutional approach analyzed actors and interests in the waterenergy nexus in India via over 25 semi-structured key informant interviews. The sociological approach surveyed over 50 farmers and equipment suppliers for insight into technology adoption. The technical component analyzed water and energy consumption data to calculate potential benefits from transitioning to more efficient techniques. Findings – Because policymakers have a preference for voluntary policy instruments over coercive reforms, distortions in policy and market arenas can provide opportunities for embedded actors to leverage technology and craft policy bargains which facilitate Pareto superior reforms and, thereby, avoid stalemates in addressing climate change. Enlarging the solution space to include more actors and interests can facilitate such bargains more than traditional bilateral exchanges. Practical implications – The analysis provides insights into crafting successful climate action policies in an inhospitable institutional terrain. Originality/value – Studies about climate change politics generally focus on stalemates and portray the private sector as resistant and a barrier to climate action. This paper analyzes a contrary phenomenon, showing how reforms can be packaged in Pareto superior formats to overcome policy stalemates and generate technology-based climate and environmental co-benefits in even unpromising terrain such as technologically laggard and economically constrained populations.