1970s Climate Shock in India: Lecture by Elizabeth Chatterjee

Elizabeth Chatterjee delivered a lecture on ‘Late Acceleration: The Early 1970s Climate Shock and the Indian Emergency’. It will be chaired by Awadhendra Sharan. 


One year before the famous Arab oil embargo of 1973, the global South was struck by a different kind of energy crisis. A series of interlocking climate shocks ravaged agricultural heartlands around the planet, precipitating famines and electricity shortages. In India, the combined climate-food-energy crisis brought twin transformations. By 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had resorted to imposing a constitutional dictatorship, while the state also accelerated a fateful turn towards coal. Analyzing these historical responses is crucial to understand India’s carbon-heavy energy path, and offers evidence on the complex and troubling societal consequences of climate shocks.

Elizabeth Chatterjee is Assistant Professor of Environmental History and the College at the University of Chicago. Her research explores the history of energy and infrastructure, with a particular focus on India from 1947 to the present. 

Awadhendra Sharan is Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Thursday 27 October 2022, 7 pm, Zoom https://bit.ly/3MwP4qn