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India gears up for battle on climate change funds

India gears up for battle on climate change funds
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First Published: Tue, May 19 2009. 12 31 AM IST

Updated: Tue, May 19 2009. 12 31 AM IST
New Delhi: The United Nations will release this week the negotiating texts for the December summit on climate change in Copenhagen, marking another milestone in the countdown to a gruelling battle over the funds developing nations need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
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The texts, to be released by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), will be debated by ministerial delegates when they meet in Bonn, Germany, next month, one of a slew of meetings running up to the Copenhagen summit that will be attended by 190 countries. The pages of text will be scrutinized, bitterly disputed, erased, rephrased and bracketed many times over before any agreement is reached.
A key issue is a proposal for “long-term cooperative action” that would spell out the action to be taken by developing nations to reduce emissions. The mitigating action is to be funded by advanced countries held responsible for most of the emissions responsible for global warming.
Also See Country Positions (Graphics)
But this is where agreement is elusive. Not only are the sources of finance unclear, because of the global recession, but the process of financing and the agencies to be used to channel the funds are also under debate. Mint reported on the lack of finances to mitigate climate change on 12 May.
Another issue is whether developing countries will agree to expose their mitigation plans (known as nationally appropriate mitigation actions, or Namas) to global scrutiny and review before developed countries have offered finances to fund a low-carbon path.
Any mitigation project, its performance targets or mitigation impact will not be measurable, verifiable or reportable (MRV) unless finance and technology to reduce emissions are put on the table, said Shyam Saran, the prime minister’s special envoy on climate change. “There is no such thing as MRV for mitigation action with no MRV for finance and technology,” Saran said in an interview.
“We welcome the idea of an international registry (for mitigation projects) with legal status. We have no problem with (a) review of projects either. But developed countries are saying not only these actions but your entire plan on sustainable development should be subject to international scrutiny, and that we cannot accept.”
During negotiations, China and India have called for 1% of the developed world’s gross domestic product (GDP) to be committed to developing countries for emission cuts. As of now, negotiation submissions do not mention any concrete financial commitments.
Who will control and facilitate the distribution of funds and review the performance of mitigation projects is also a matter of debate. The Group of 77 (G-77) developing countries and China have opposed channelling any funds through the Global Environment Fund or the World Bank. The G-77 argues that unlike the UNFCCC, in which every country has a single vote, agencies such as the World Bank are undemocratic.
Saran added: “Money needs to be governed by all parties under the UNFCCC. The money or projects cannot be donor-driven. Donors cannot dictate how the money will be spent on which country, which is what is happening to most programme funds under UN agencies.”
The conference in Copenhagen will negotiate a treaty that will set commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2012, after the expiry of commitments made under the Kyoto Protocol.
Graphics by Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint
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First Published: Tue, May 19 2009. 12 31 AM IST