New Delhi: The World Economic Forum session on trade and climate change, which brought together a high-profile panel comprising policymakers and corporate leaders, saw no significant progress in terms of how differences between developed and developing countries on global warming can be bridged.
The panel comprised Shyam Saran, Prime Minister’s special envoy on climate change, Moser Baer India Ltd chairman and managing director Deepak Puri, Alcatel-Lucent SA’s chief executive officer (CEO) Ben Verwaayen, president of the US National Foreign Trade Council William Reinsch, Wipro Ltd joint CEO Suresh Vaswani and Nicholas Stern, former World Bank chief economist. The session was held following a meeting of senior officials in Barcelona, Spain, this month that achieved little progress in resolving differences between advanced and emerging economies ahead of the Copenhagen, Denmark, summit next month that will aim to hammer out an accord to slash carbon emissions.
Saran, who reiterated India’s stance on universal accessibility of green and transitional technology, said global negotiations didn’t reflect the urgency that was required to address the peril the planet was in.
He also expressed disappointment with the negotiations in Barcelona, saying it ended without much cheer for the Copenhagen summit.
“There was a deliberate attempt to downgrade negotiations in Copenhagen,” Saran said. He also called for the establishment of a global platform to put together technological and scientific resources of various countries to spread technology to combat climate change as rapidly as possible. “Such technologies must be made available as public goods,” he said.
Technology and access remained the central point of discussion, with Vaswani suggesting that countries approach green technology with an “open source” frame of mind so that countries could modify and adapt it to fit their needs.
Reinsch, while agreeing on the need for universal access to technology, said countries such as India need to convince others that sufficiently strong policies were in place to protect the right of the innovator.
Stern stated that the cost of green technology did not “warrant the kind of tariffs/protectionism that certain countries are asking for”.
Delegates warned the economic crisis could put climate responsibility on the back burner, saying it shouldn’t be allowed to happen.
Apart from the general consensus on this subject, very little was suggested on how this could be brought about.
The session ended with closing statements reiterating a sense of urgency to tackle climate change and agreeing that the phenomenon was a global problem that affected everybody. There were no signs, however, that differences on how to tackle the issue can be easily bridged.