New Delhi: India rejected a proposal to replace national limits on carbon dioxide pollution with targets for individual industries, taking sides against Japan and the US on how to curb global warming.
“There can’t be an imposition of industry wide norms on a global basis,” Shyam Saran, special envoy for the Indian Prime Minister on climate change, told businessmen in Mumbai on Monday, according to the copy of the speech obtained after it was made.
India is opposing suggestions by the world’s two largest economies to adopt a so-called “bottom-up, sectoral approach” devised by Japan in its bid to lead the crafting of a successor to the emissions-limiting Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
The plan calls for countries to set carbon dioxide-reduction targets based on estimated volumes of heat-trapping gases that industries such as utilities and steel can eliminate through conservation measures.
Climate talk: Shyam Saran.
“There is a very real danger that in adopting sectoral standards among themselves, the developed countries would use the competitiveness argument to put up protectionist tariffs against products from developing countries,” Saran said.
The Kyoto Protocol requires 37 nations to cut pollution from 1990 levels through 2012. Japan, the world’s second biggest economy, pledged to trim annual emissions by 6% and has so far relied on voluntary reductions by households, utilities and factories.
India, whose coastal cities may face inundation from higher ocean levels brought on by climate change, according to scientists, has joined China and almost 130 other developing countries in resisting calls for them to limit air pollution as their economies expand. Earlier this month, China had opposed Japan’s proposal.
India needs to take steps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels such as oil and shift to renewable sources of energy to sustain economic growth and also be climate-friendly, said Saran, who is also the special envoy on the civilian nuclear deal with the US. The government is set to unveil its National Action Plan on Climate Change in June, he said.
The world’s second most populous nation bases its climate arguments partly on its lower contribution to global warming. India released an average 1.2 tonne of carbon per person in 2004, compared with 20.6 tonnes in the US, 6 tonnes in France and 3.8 tonnes in China, according to the United Nations Human Development Report 2007/2008.
Hemal Savai in Mumbai contributed to this story.