India remains firm on its stand on emission reduction targets

India remains firm on its stand on emission reduction targets

New Delhi: India has rejected calls by developed countries at the Bonn climate talks to turn its domestic emission reduction commitments into internationally binding pledges.

In response to industrialized nations again raising the issue of such commitments by developing countries, Indian negotiators made a statement at the climate meet that firmly echoed the views of the Group of 77 and China.

Surya Sethi, former adviser (energy) to the Planning Commission and a former negotiator in India’s climate panel, comments on the country’s stance in Bonn and the importance of creating short-term goals for emission reduction

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“The fundamental feature of developing countries’ mitigation actions is that such actions are voluntary in nature and are to be taken in the context of sustainable development," said J.M. Mauskar, additional secretary, ministry of environment and forests and a negotiator on the Indian team.

“The NAMAs (nationally appropriate mitigation actions) of developing countries will, therefore, be guided primarily by the national priorities of social and economic development, including the energy needs of people and the eradication of poverty," he added.

Late last year, India announced a unilateral domestic commitment to reduce the emissions intensity of its gross domestic product by 20-25% by 2020, below 2005 levels. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh asserted repeatedly since then, including in Parliament, that the pledges will be domestic and not part of any international legally binding climate-change agreement.

India has set up a panel on low carbon growth under the Planning Commission, which is looking at how key energy consuming sectors will cut emission intensity.

The Indian statement also asserted that these actions won’t be open to scrutiny and verification by other countries and that any future regime for the measurement and inspection of emission reduction cannot be more stringent for developing nations than developed ones.

“Voluntary mitigation actions of developing countries financed from own domestic resources will not be subject to international review," says the statement.

“Domestic mitigation actions that are not supported by finance and technology under (the) United Nations arrangements will be subject to only domestic verification," the statement added.

The current talks, in effect, reflect the lack of any change in positions. Over the past three years, from Bali to Poznan to Copenhagen and now to Cancun this year, the talking points have revolved around the same key issues.

The newly appointed executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, who will take over from 1 July, said that there may not be a climate change agreement in her lifetime.

That estimate is further away from that of Yvo de Boer, the current chief, who said the world might reach a consensus by the end of next year.