New Delhi: The incoming government will, among other issues, have to deal with the climate change negotiations. Any road-map to mitigate the negative fallout of climate change could potentially have a strong bearing on the country’s growth strategy, especially since the developed countries are beginning to exert greater pressure on large developing countries such as China and India to commit to cut their carbon emissions. Shyam Saran, who is the Prime Minister’s special envoy on climate change and head of India’s negotiating team, dwells on these and other aspects that are likely to be taken up at the next global meet at Copenhagen in December. Edited excerpts:
Would the change in administration in the US impact the ongoing climate change negotiations?
Hot topic: PM’s special envoy on climate change, Shyam Saran. Sakchai Lalit / AP
The difference is really in terms of attitude of this new administration on matters relating to climate change compared to the Bush administration. While the Bush administration did not seem to take the challenge of climate change seriously, the Obama administration has joined the mainstream view that climate change is taking place and unless we take urgent action, the world may see irreversible changes. In that context, Obama has also said that you can’t deal with climate change without addressing energy security, which is precisely the stand we have taken as well. That is the context in which he has talked about his renewable energy partnership. He has proposed we continue with this but do it under the forum of energy and climate change.
India’s intervention on technological innovation to mitigate climate change has been well received. What does India envision as a framework?
Our proposal was on clean net: setting up a network of innovation centres. The idea is, while there might be technology available currently, adapting to local requirements is critical—technology being adapted into products, which meet local needs. So can we set up these kind of centres which are also multi-sectoral in character with economists, people from social sector, etc., so we ensure adaptation to local terrain. The idea is also to link all these centres together for a global network so that best practices wherever they are, become available for adaptation elsewhere. We have purposely not spelt out all details as we want it to evolve with discussion with other parties.
There have been talks about cracks in the G77, the grouping of developing nations. What are the implications?
My experience tells me it’s wishful thinking that G77 is cracking up; something other counties would like us to believe. There is no difference of opinion among developing countries on broad issues. The UNFCCC ( United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) is a consensus document. Secondly, we must adhere very clearly to the Bali roadmap (the UNFCCC meet at Bali in December 2007) in terms of four pillars of mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology in a new vision. The perception that developing countries, particularly major developing countries are not ready to take any responsibility is simply not true.