New Delhi: India once again resisted pressure from industrialized nations to endorse a declaration which would require industrialized nations and emerging economies such as India and China to halve emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. The proposal was put forth by the US and Mexico during climate change negotiations among the 17-nation Major Economies Forum (MEF) in Mexico this week and is yet to be agreed upon by the group.
A senior government official who is close to the developments but did not want to be identified said India did not agree to any such commitment on emissions.
“Mitigation targets remained the most contentious issue in the meeting, while talks on technology transfer and funding of emission cuts in developing nations continued. And while the developed world is talking about long-term action by major economies, there is hardly any development on the mid-term mitigation targets by them,” he added.
Last year, the G-8 group of developed nations tried to put pressure on emerging economies by agreeing to a resolution demanding that the world should halve the global emissions, hinting that China and India should also be on board. But developing countries, including China, India and Brazil, did not adopt that 2050 goal at the G-8 summit at Hokkaido in Japan, where they were invited, arguing that the rich nations first have to set tough 2020 cuts for themselves.
Recently, at the last UN meeting on climate change in Bonn in June, India, China, South Africa and Brazil in their submission said industrialized nations need to accept a 40% cut in their emissions below 1990 levels by 2020.
MEF was set up by former US president George W. Bush as the Major Economies Meeting (MEM) as an alternative negotiating platform to the UN for climate change. Critics viewed MEM as a group outside the UN system. US president Barack Obama rechristened it as MEF and has called for all major economies to agree to a deal on climate change before the annual UN conference on climate change at Copenhagen this December.
Obama’s focus for MEF has been on technology and it is expected that any breakthrough by the group will be on technology development and transfer. “However, even on technology, most of the discussions were on the commercial aspects and implications of technology and not on actual disbursement or on any concrete agreement on financial aid to developing nations,” the official added.
“The proposal is largely a US text, a working document which was prepared overnight and given to delegates during breakfast on the second day. So, the US is happy, especially with the backing of key countries such as Australia. And Mexico is happy because their proposal of a green fund was included. But such parallel processes outside the UN system cannot lead to anything binding,” said Shirish Sinha, head of Climate Change and Energy Programme, World Wildlife Fund, India.
The proposal will be revisited and discussed at the next MEF meeting in Italy, which will be held alongside the G-8 meeting next month. The official added that MEF is looking to announce a common declaration at this year’s G-8 summit, which would be tough given the proposal’s current form. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is slated to attend the G-8 summit in Italy.
Reuters contributed to this story.