Washington: Asking the developed countries “to walk the talk” on reducing green house emissions, India Friday opposed any “premature” setting of “benchmarks” for industries and instead pressed them to first ensure technology transfer to the developing world.
“The setting of any such goal (on reducing emissions) needs to be realistic apart from being based on a scientific consensus at a far higher spatial level than the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change),” R. Chidambaram, government’s Principal Scientific Advisor, said at the Second Major Economies Meeting on the Environment in Honolulu.
It should take into account historical cumulative emissions, per-capita emissions and the sustainable development needs of developing countries and should be guided by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, he told delegates from 16 nations and the EU, which contribute to 8O% of the emissions, as well as the UN.
The parties are meeting to further talks held in Bali last month during which countries agreed to adopt a blueprint for fighting global warming by 2009.
Chidambaram, who led the Indian delegation, stressed that any further discussions should be within the parameters of the Bali Action Plan and rejected any suggestions new additions including on “competitiveness”.
“There have been suggestions on setting standards ‘benchmarks’ for various technology sectors. Such benchmarking would be premature for developing countries and smaller players have to catch up,” Chidambaram said.
“Moreover, we should not put the cart before the horse. If technologies are transferred properly, standards would automatically be achieved. The Bali Action Plan is about long term cooperative action to enable full, effective and sustained implementation of the (UN) Framework Convention,” the adviser reiterated.
The US, which had hosted the first round of major economies talks in Washington in September, has said it hoped the countries would help draft targets for industries and agree to “binding market-based and voluntary measures” to save the world from climate catastrophe.
“An absolutely clear imperative is that developed countries walk the talk on GHG reductions, developing countries are playing a part in the international action on mitigation especially through the flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol,” the top Indian delegate said.
“Developing countries including India are also taking nationally appropriate action on mitigation. If knowledge is already available and technology is already developed, it should be transferred to the developing countries,” he said.
“If the process of knowledge generation is still on, there should be scientific and technological cooperation between the developed and developing countries and in this India will be more than happy to contribute,” Chidambarm added.
The US has rejected the Kyoto protocol and wants developing countries like India and China to have specific emission targets.
But India and China contend that their per capita emissions are still far too low compared to the developed countries and that they are being unfairly penalised for the damage done to the environment by the developed world.
“There has to be a clear understanding that developing countries have small individual carbon footprints and their overriding priority has to remain poverty eradication and addressing adaptation,” Chidambaram added.
“We believe that an equal per-capita entitlement to equal sustainable development is unassailable to ensure fairness and recognition that the earth’s atmosphere is our common heritage to which all of us have an equal claim,” said the scientific adviser.
“We would be happy to work with like-minded countries to develop this paradigm in a manner that also ensures accelerated growth and empowerment in the developing countries,” Chidambaram said.