India Economic Summit | Trade and climate change

India Economic Summit | Trade and climate change

New Delhi: The World Economic Forum session on trade and climate change which brought together a high profile panel comprising policy and corporate leaders, saw no significant progress in terms of how different viewpoints between developed and developing countries could be reconciled.

The panel comprised Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for Climate Change, Shyam Saran, chairman and managing director Moser Baer Deepak Puri, CEO of Alcatel Lucent France Ben Verwaayen, president of the US National Foreign Trade Council William Reinsch, joint executive officer, IT Business, and Wipro Board member Suresh Vaswani and Professor Lord Stern.

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Saran who reiterated India’s stance with regard to universal accessibility of green and transitional technology, said global negotiations did not reflect the urgency that was required to address the peril the planet was in. He also expressed disappointment with negotiations in Barcelona, saying that sessions ended without much cheer for the upcoming Copenhagen summit. “There was a deliberate attempt to downgrade negotiations in Copenhagen", he said. Saran also called for the establishment of a global platform to put together technological and scientific resources of various countries so as to arrive at a feasible solution and diffuse climate change technology 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 Wipro board member Suresh 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.

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President of the US National Foreign Trade Council William Reinsch, while agreeing that there was need for universal access to technology, said that countries like India needed to convince other global players that sufficiently strong policies were in place to protect the right of the innovator. Sir Nicholas Stern stated that the cost of green technology did not “warrant the kind of tariffs/protectionism that certain countries are asking for".

Apart from technology another topic of discussion was the fact that climate change and economic growth were not at competition. It was agreed that while the economic crisis could put climate responsibility on the backburner, it was imperative that this should not happen. However apart from general consensus on this fact, very little was suggested in terms of how this could be brought about.

The session ended with closing statements ranging from a reiteration of a sense of urgency to an agreement that climate change was a global commerce problem which affected everybody. However there were no signs that either side would be willing to significantly compromise on their position, which could be read as an indication of even less cheer for Copenhagen.