India’s highly centralized federal structure sits uneasily with the nature of the climate problem. While financial and bureaucratic capacities are concentrated in the centre, the locus of climate decisions lies largely in the states because they steer energy choices and respond to climate impacts.

The focus of this brief is on national climate governance with only partial discussion of the complementary federal governance structures required, which will be addressed elsewhere.

It is on the precarious and ever-shifting terrain of Indian federalism that a modern edifice of climate governance must be built. Where is the firm ground? Are there enduring characteristics of centre-state relations that let us arrive at a relatively stable description of Indian climate governance?